Advocates for the preservation of single-room occupancy buildings earned a small victory today as the City Council unanimously passed a moratorium on permits for demolition or conversations.
The ordinance was introduced last month and prohibits the city from issuing permits to renovate SROs into high-value housing for the next six months, preventing a possible spate of development and additional evictions until a long-term preservation ordinance is passed.
“It is good that the city is paying attention to affordable housing options,” said Robert Rohdenburg, an SRO resident and an organizer with ONE Northside. “Discrimination and segregation are all part of this issue.”
For low-income residents, seniors and people with disabilities, SROs are the only affordable housing options. The number of units has declined rapidly the last three years. According to the Chicago for All Coalition, the city has lost 2,100 units since 2011, and only about 5,000-6,000 units in 73 licensed SROs remain.