Header Image Mobile Header Image


11/6/2019 | Organizing for Housing Justice & A Home to Thrive

CPD Affiliate KOCO is Working to Protect Chicago Residents from Displacement

During the summer of 2016, residents of South Shore and Woodlawn, two historically disinvested Black communities in Chicago, learned the Obama Presidential Center would be built on land adjacent to their neighborhoods. Familiar with the potential risks of displacement and gentrification that all too often come from such high-profile developments, the Kenwood-Oakland Community Organization (KOCO) went to work with two partner organizations to co-found the Obama Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) Coalition

The CBA Coalition effectively spent the last three years engaging and activating their members around this issue––resulting in the political will and public support to introduce a city ordinance. The ordinance seeks to immediately address the rampant displacement of low-income and working families from these communities as a result of ongoing real estate speculation. Through this campaign, KOCO has built a dynamic coalition, and are identifying and igniting new leaders while growing their base of supporters – 91% of impacted residents voted in favor of the ordinance through a local referendum. 

KOCO’s fight has just begun. The CBA ordinance currently sits within the Housing Committee of Chicago’s City Council, chaired by Alderman Harry Osterman, whose ward sits nearly 20 miles away from the impacted community. Despite 29 aldermen signing-on in support with 26 votes required for passage Alderman Osterman refuses to follow the council’s democratic process and allow a committee hearing or vote to enable the ordinance.

KOCO has no choice but to keep the pressure on Alderman Osterman and solidify support from the mayor’s office. Securing this victory, will allow thousands of vulnerable residents in these communities, including senior citizens and single moms to stay in their homes, and set an important precedent for how development should take place in low-income and working communities to protect residents from displacement.

Stand with this important campaign by following the coalition’s progress on twitter @ObamaCBA. You can also take action and tell Alderman Osterman to stop withholding democracy for the residents of South Shore and Woodlawn by tweeting your message to @48Ward.

Finally, none of this work would be possible without support from people like you! Please make a $10 donation to this campaign today and support KOCO’s fight for keep people in their homes!