Closure of North Side SRO sends residents into a “panic”

Longtime residents of a North Side SRO are concerned about their ability to secure affordable housing amid temporary closure of Foswyn Arms

Chicago /
Nov.November 01, 2019 10:10 AM
The Foswyn Arms SRO at 5240 N. Winthrop Avenue (Credit: Google Maps)

The Foswyn Arms SRO at 5240 N. Winthrop Avenue (Credit: Google Maps)

Upcoming renovations at a single-room occupancy building on the North Side is forcing out residents, some of whom are seniors who have called the vintage building home for 20 years. The building’s shutdown is raising concerns over whether they’ll be able to find other affordable housing options. The owner of 5240 N. Winthrop Avenue, Cedar Realty, plans to reduce the number of units in Foswyn Arms, located in Edgewater Beach, from 88 to 62 to include bathrooms in each room, according to the Chicago Tribune.

A Department of Housing spokesperson said the city previously put a hold on a renovation permit for the project to ensure the owner was following the ordinance. He said the hold was eventually lifted, but the owner is still going through the permitting process and a renovation permit hasn’t been issued yet.

After outcry by the city and housing advocates, the building’s owner came up with a relocation plan for current residents, giving them an option for them to return. But tenants are worried the units will become unaffordable when renovations are complete.

Cedar Realty agreed to delay the move-out date until Nov. 1, but the city still wants more time, saying the company created a situation where tenants are “verging on panic and a dread of homelessness.”

Citywide, the inventory of affordable housing has been declining for decades. An ordinance was adopted in 2014 to prevent the decline of SROs and require building owners to provide the city with a relocation plan for residents.

Cedar Realty has owned Foswyn Arms since 2012.

[Chicago Tribune] — Brianna Kelly


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