We are currently in a housing crisis like we’ve never seen before in the United States. The population of people experiencing homelessness in Chicago has increased throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Data from 2020 pointed to roughly 5,390 homeless people in Chicago, and many more uncounted people who are squatting in basements, sleeping on couches, or doubled up in overcrowded homes.
I have been on the front lines of this housing crisis. As the Neighborhood Services Director for the 35th Ward, I have directly assisted countless individuals experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity with accessing resources, mental treatment, rental assistance, and even securing permanent housing.
I believe Cook County can play a greater role in addressing homelessness by expanding programs like the Cook County Land Bank for emergency housing and long-term affordable housing on the northwest side and across Cook County.
As Commissioner, I will work with city agencies like the Department of Housing, the Chicago Housing Authority, and nonprofit affordable housing organizations as well as the Cook County Housing Authority to ensure that we are expanding our affordable housing stock, expanding direct assistance to individuals, expanding treatment options like mental health services, and using the Federal American Rescue Plan funds for emergency rental relief to keep families housed after the pandemic.
I will work to expand housing resources and to push for equitable transit-oriented development in Chicago and suburban Cook County. Cook County must take on a leadership role and work collaboratively with all municipalities to address the lack of affordable housing.