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South Shore Community Benefit Agreement

Dixon Romeo (2022 Fellow)

A Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) Housing Ordinance in South Shore to prevent displacement due to the impact of the Obama Center.

To obtain a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) Housing Ordinance in South Shore Chicago to prevent displacement due to the impact of the Obama Presidential Center.

The Why

South Shore is the number one eviction neighborhood in the city and county since 2010, and just two blocks away from the Obama Center.

South Shore residents need protections to stay in their neighborhood, so that those who have been here can benefit from the Obama Presidential Center. South Shore is the #1 neighborhood for eviction filings in 2021. South Shore is 93% Black, and 77% of residents are renters. Over half of South Shore residents are rent burdened (more than 30% of income is spent on rent). Meanwhile, property value in South Shore has increased by 48% in the past year (Oct 2020-2021). [sources: Census 2021; Redfin].

Project Gallery

The Collaborators

Six community organizations committed to the South Shore CBA.

Not Me We (NMW), Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO), Southside Together Organizing For Power( STOP), Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100), University of Chicago Against Displacement (UCAD).

The How

This project is being completed by grassroots community organizing, those directly affected.

This project is being completed by grassroots community organizing. Working with community leaders, elected officials, organizations but most importantly community members who are directly affected.

The Outcomes

So far the city has created a loan fund of up to $5 mil over the next 3 years to assist South Shore condo owners.

The outcomes should include a South Shore CBA Housing Ordinance with a comprehensive set of holistic housing demands that prevent displacement. So far the city has created a loan fund of up to 5 million dollars over the next 3 years to assist condo owners. We believe the impetus for creating this fund came from the pressure that we had been putting on them since the groundbreaking of the center in 2021.





The CUE Influence

The CUE Fellowship helped me think about the perspectives of people who are working on the inside of institutions that we often have to work with/collaborate with. The people are not the institution.

The CUE Fellowship helped me think about the perspectives, personality and experience of people who are working on the inside of institutions through our inside-outside organizing workshop. 


The people are not the institution and oftentimes share the same analysis and frustration we, on the outside, do. The CUE Fellowship helped me learn about organizing and the tactics there are in, in a broader sense that can be applied to the South Shore CBA.