Letters: Bring Chicago Home is only half a proposal

By Mary Friedlieb, Letter to the Editor, Chicago Tribune | February 29, 2024

My fundamental problem with the “Bring Chicago Home” proposal is that it is only half a proposal. Sure, it’s proposing a way to get money to address the broader community need for affordable housing and to tackle the issues of homelessness. (Affordable housing and homelessness are not the same thing. Look it up online to understand the distinction in meaning and public policy.)

I agree that we have an affordable housing problem and homelessness problem in our community. I’m of the belief that society as a whole, through government, can and should address such problems in a community. But how is the city going to use that money?

I don’t need a final solution, but is it too much to ask for the policymakers to at least offer some options of what they are considering to use the money for?

Here’s the thing. If I proposed raising my condo association’s assessments to address problems in the building, you had better bet no one would approve such an increase without me showing folks what that money is going toward. I see representative government in the same way. Representatives we elect have a responsibility not only to identify issues that need more money to address on behalf of all of us, but they also need to provide tangible answers of how they will do it and how they’ll use that money.

I’ve been listening very carefully to our local leaders for quite some time with respect to the Bring Chicago Home proposal, and I’ve not heard one legitimate response on how that money will be used.

For that reason alone, I can’t support it.