Affordable housing in Chicago wins one. Miles to go.

A packed Logan Square community meeting overwhelmingly voted to support Emmett Street in April of 2019.

After nearly a decade since the project to build affordable housing on a rarely used parking lot next to the Blue Line in Logan Square was first proposed, the Chicago City Council gave final and unanimous approval.

Emmett Street will be the site of 100 affordable units of one, two and three bedroom apartments dedicated to low income residents.

For a project where there is so much need the process has been excruciatingly slow.

But with final council approval the Alderman says work can begin in July and it can be occupied by early next year.

Meanwhile the crisis of affordable housing continues and has been made worse by the coronacrisis.

Crain’s reports that nearly 600,000 people in the Chicago metro area are in danger of losing their homes because of loss of income due to COVID.

An estimated 296,000 homeowner households have at least one income earner in an occupation that has been affected by the stay-home order, according to data out today from the Institute for Housing Studies at DePaul University. A late April report from the institute found that about 273,000 renting households are similarly vulnerable.

There is much to celebrate about the final Council approval and the planned summer construction start for Emmett Street.

But like so much that is true about the coronacrisis which has laid bare all the existing inequalities and social needs, the need for affordable housing is a desperate need.

We needed city, state and federal efforts at providing affordable housing before the virus.

And now more than ever.

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