What can we afford?
Just a couple of days ago I attended the a brand new organization’s fundraiser. It’s called Chicago Tiny House Inc.—a new non-profit, whose mission “is to create tiny house communities throughout Chicago that will provide homeless Chicagoans with safe and cost-effective housing and integrated support services.” It was a beautiful, fun-filled, information packed event that brought about 100 folks together around this “homeless” problem that we, in the inner cities across America, face each and every day. We learned that these folks will be learning from the models for “tiny houses” for the homeless in cities such as New York City, Detroit, and Denver. And we learned from guest speaker, Alan Mills, a long-time homeless advocate from Uptown, that there are about 100,000 folks in Chicago that have no place call their own. Who are these folks? They are the persons that are sleeping in the shelters, in the tents, under the bridges, or they are sleeping on various couches or floors of friends and family (for as long they as can…most are constantly on the move).
Uptown, like so many neighborhoods across the country, have lost so much “affordable” and even extremely low-income rooms that could at least put a roof over someone’s head. So many low-income buildings have been sold to private developers who have turned so many structures into high-priced condos, or lofts, or high-rent apartments. Mills pointed out that we must not “lay-down” and let this happen. He said we must continue to advocate for the homeless and that getting behind this “Tiny House” movement is definitely a welcome addition to fight and the right to be “housed.”
Not surprisingly, I would agree wholeheartedly.
The next day I was walking to the store when I passed the old Stewart School building—a former elementary school building in Uptown. It had been closed down for a few years with “some” debate over what should the building should be use for. During last summer, the school’s “front yard” was filled with tents of “real people”… until they were evicted from the property. And now, we see the reason. The former Stewart school is being transformed into “Stewart School” lofts. And they might even available later this year.
I guess it’s not too hard to see where our priorities are.
Where are all these folks who’ve called “Uptown” home for so long going to go? Somehow, I don’t think they’ll be checking out the lofts at Stewart school.
Pray for more “housing” —any kind of housing. Pray for this Tiny House Movement. Pray for the souls left out on the street. Pray for our hearts to be moved —and continue to be moved—to do all that we can to help these folks. Why? Because like the billboard says, “Being homeless, it’s worse than you think.”
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