Bait, Switch, Twist | Letters | Chicago Reader

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Bait, Switch, Twist

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So much of what Mr. Sadowsky wrote in response to the "Bait and Switch" article of July 26 regarding the Erie House co-op was false that one wonders whether he is misinformed or just plain misleading [Letters, August 16]. A person in his position has a responsibility to the public to be both well-informed and to tell the truth!

Bickerdike/Erie House is using the term "cooperative housing" as a marketing tool and nothing more. Genuine cooperative housing provides owner's equity, financial, tax, social, and personal benefits, as well as the responsibilities that home ownership brings. In reality for the first 15 years the occupants will not be homeowners, but tenants. It is only after 15 years of tenancy, under this plan, that 40-year mortgage obligations begin. Full ownership is therefore not obtained for 55 years!

The recent revelation that Erie House chose to abandon home ownership for working families, even before the '95 referendum was voted on, has shocked the entire community. While Erie House representatives went door-to-door promoting home ownership, their hidden agenda was subsidized rental. This co-op/rental housing project would have provided ownership and tax breaks only for the private investors involved, not for the families who would have lived in these properties. The community withdrew its support of this project when it was discovered that Erie House had baited the neighborhood with cooperative home ownership and then switched to low-income rental housing.

Mr. Sadowsky suggests that the co-op would serve the moderate-income families of our community. The guidelines to qualify for one of these rental units call for income of only $9,000 a year. This amount is, by IHDA's own definition, "very low income" and not "moderate income." Is he aware that according to the officers and directors of the National Cooperative Bank there has been $21 million available all along? This money is for real owner-occupied co-op housing in Chicago and Erie House has never applied for this funding. Was home ownership ever their objective?

The Eckhart Park Community Council commends the Chicago Housing Development Board (CHDB) and the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) for their recent decision to table this pro- ject. Chicago Mutual Housing Network is fighting the wrong battle. Their energies would be better spent in Hiawatha Park, where the residents exploded over one three-unit building of low-income housing being built in their neighborhood. The Eckhart Park community, on the other hand, currently has one of the highest concentrations of low-income housing in the entire city.

If Mr. Sadowsky really wants to get in touch with the moderate-income families of this community, we invite him to attend one of our meetings!!!

Cesar Augusto Pedroza

Eckhart Park Community Council

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