CHICAGO, Jan. 15, 2020—The Chicago Teachers Union released the following statement regarding the passage of a moratorium on new construction near The 606 trail in the Chicago City Council today:
The Union is grateful for the leadership and foresight of Aldermen Carlos Ramirez-Rosa and Roberto Maldonado in pushing for a city ordinance that will protect working class families and longtime residents living near The 606 trail. The issues of gentrification and affordable housing are intricately linked to public education, because as our schools go, so do our neighborhoods.
The Logan Square and Humboldt Park communities around The 606 been gentrifying for nearly two decades, and have collectively seen a loss of nearly 2,000 public school students since the rail-to-trail opened in 2015. Housing prices around the trail have skyrocketed and many single-family homes and multi-family apartment buildings have been replaced with high-end one-bedroom and studio apartments. This has adversely affected many CTU members, such as our PSRPs, many of whom are Black and Brown heads of working class families that have called the area home for decades.
The reality that The 606 has shown is that real estate developers will benefit, while long-term residents are displaced. Gentrification is similarly affecting the Pilsen and Little Village communities, where a rail-to-trail conversion is in the works, in addition to plans for a defunct train line in Englewood.
Our schools and communities need stability, and our students need safe and affordable housing, which is why our members fought on picket lines for 11 days to ensure housing equity. Today’s passage of the moratorium on new developments around The 606 shows that, through the work of our allies and our union, the city is finally taking seriously the negative effects of gentrification.
“This is a step, and a start, but it’s just that—a start,” CTU President Jesse Sharkey said. “Working class families and fair housing advocates are finally being heard, but for the next six months, these residents and grassroots groups must be engaged in conversations with the city that will provide a long-term plan for the people who need it most, and a vision for sustainable, affordable housing near sites like The 606 so that everyone can benefit, not just a select few.”
Let this action serve as the beginning of a positive trend that halts the exodus of families from Chicago, and allows our schools to develop programs that support every child’s chance to succeed.