The nonprofit Oak Park Regional Housing Center supports plans to convert an empty Comcast building into 51 affordable rental apartments (to be developed by the Chicago-based Interfaith Housing Development Corporation in partnership with the Oak Park Housing Authority). The plans are not without controversy.
One of the arguments being used by opponents is that the Comcast project on Madison Street would result in “segregation.” The Housing Center’s executive director says adding lower income people would actually increase the racial and economic diversity in the Comcast facility neighborhood where the median income is a rather hefty $86,077. In addition, the 51 apartments would increase rental housing in the Census Tract by only 2 percent.
It isn’t hard to see in the online comments and the extensive Oak Park debate on Facebook that the debate isn’t quite so esoteric. The argument isn’t really fair housing vs. lack of diversity. Take for example the comment that characterizes the project as being for “low-income residents, including many on permanent government assistance” – a loaded phrase if there ever was one.
Read remainder of the story at The Nonprofit Quarterly.