Last week, we announced a $330 million lending commitment from 40 banks that will help add 7,000 affordable housing units on the South and West Sides.
I am highlighting it not because it is the panacea for every problem we face. It is just one part of our administration’s commitment to investing in neighborhoods across the city that have been neglected for generations; it is not the whole. And that is the point.
We’re proud of this new initiative and thankful for the partners who have joined us, but we know that progress for our city’s underserved communities will not happen overnight.
To date, we have implemented a national model for fair work scheduling, boosted the minimum wage, reformed fines and fees to put a stop to the unfair debt burden on working families, and of course, we launched Invest South/West, which is aligning $750 million in public funding to 10 neighborhoods on the South and West Sides. Those are just the highlights. Every single day, we work to address our city’s most vexing challenges.
This is how it starts. Day-by-day, week-by-week, and eventually over years we will start to see long-term change to the institutional inequality that still exists today. We will build equity for people who were denied it for generations. And it is my great hope that someday soon we will have a Chicago in which people of all races, ethnicities, abilities, orientations and ages can participate.
The city cannot and will not do it alone. Our businesses—large and small—are partnering with us on programs throughout Chicago. Community organizations are stepping up to serve their neighborhoods. Our state and federal delegations and Governor Pritzker are also working to do their part.
We’ll keep working. And we’ll keep updating you on our progress.
Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot