ROGERS PARK — On the day when Chicago's mayor to introduce a $600 million "doomsday budget" to City Council, housing advocates continued their fight to see better use of a $432 million cash surplus they say the Chicago Housing Authority has "stockpiled."
Protesters with the Chicago Housing Initiative, who is trying to pass the "Keeping The Promise" ordinance to provide stricter oversight for the housing authority, met for the fifth time in recent weeks to confront Rogers Park Ald. Joe Moore about delays in the process.
Moore, however, wasn't at his 6:30-9 a.m. scheduled satellite office hours at the Starbucks on Sheridan and Columbia Tuesday when protesters arrived. That's because Moore went to Tuesday's budget hearing downtown where Emanuel delivered a budget address complete with proposed tax and fee increase.
Moore did, however, send Vivien Tsou, a CHI organizer from ONE Northside, an email around 7 a.m. saying that he agreed with their overall mission to reform CHA, was willing to meet with them and was "not upset" by organizers' actions.
"I am committed to holding a hearing on the ordinance," Moore wrote in his email to Tsou, adding that his office has been swamped with "crafting one of the most ... challenging City budgets in Chicago's history."
But CHI protesters, who are comprised of housing advocates from groups across the city, say they would continued to push for action on the ordinance.
Alphonso Jones, an organizer from the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization on the city's South Side, was in the Far North showing his support for affordable, safe housing.
In regards to Moore's absence, Jones said, "Now that's a disappointment to us all, however, it is absolutely necessary that we come up here and fight for what's right."
Vivien Tsou rallies the group and leads the protest Tuesday morning. [DNAinfo/Linze Rice]
Also in attendance was Laura Donaldson, a 47-year-old protestor who utilizes a wheelchair, who also says she is homeless and has been living in a shelter for over a year.
Her disability has made it hard to live, and she has many problems stemming from pain in her back.
She said she's been on the CHA waitlist since her now 23-year-old daughter was 3 or 4-years-old.
It's not that she hasn't been trying to find stable housing, she said, but with a fixed income from Social Security, she says she's often forced to decide between obtaining medication or paying rent.
"I shouldn't have to do this, that's not something anyone should have to think about," Donaldson said. "If someone makes a promise, they should keep it," she said in regards to the alderman's slow movement to schedule a hearing for the housing ordinance.
But in his email to Tsou, Moore said he's a man of his word. It will just take time, he said.
"I will not make a promise I cannot keep," Moore wrote.
Laura Donaldson speaks about her struggles with physical disabilities and struggles with homelessness. [DNAinfo/Linze Rice]