• Michael McDevitt
    APR 02, 2024

    News in brief: Sigcho-Lopez survives challenge to chairmanship; Mayor appoints chief homelessness officer


    A progressive alderperson survived a challenge to his committee leadership role, and the mayor announced the city’s first chief homelessness officer.

    SIGCHO-LOPEZ STAYS — Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25) remains chair of the City Council Committee on Housing and Real Estate after an attempt to remove him by 15 alderpeople failed on a 16-29 vote Monday. Following hours of testimony at a rowdy special City Council meeting, during which members of the public were thrown out multiple times for outbursts, Sigcho-Lopez survived punishment for his attendance of a left-wing rally against the hosting of the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, a rally at which a U.S. flag was burned by a veteran before the 25th Ward alderperson arrived. Sigcho-Lopez was pictured speaking in front of the burnt flag on the ground. Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29), one of those who called for Monday’s special council meeting, voted to keep Sigcho-Lopez as committee chair after he said he found an apology from Sigcho-Lopez sufficient. Sigcho-Lopez addressed the body before the vote to apologize if his participation in the protest was offensive but to also defend the U.S. veteran who burned the flag for exercising a legal right. Multiple alderpeople, including some that voted against Sigcho-Lopez, expressed a desire to move forward and conduct themselves civilly moving forward to work for their constituents. Alds. Anthony Beale (9), Peter Chico (10), Marty Quinn (13), Raymond Lopez (15), Silvana Tabares (23), Monique Scott (24), Felix Cardona (31), Scott Waguespack (32), Bill Conway (34), Gilbert Villegas (36), Nick Sposato (38), Anthony Napolitano (41), Brendan Reilly (42), Bennett Lawson (44), Jim Gardiner (45) and Debra Silverstein (50) voted to remove Sigcho-Lopez.

    CHIEF HOMELESSNESS OFFICER — Mayor Brandon Johnson announced the appointment of Sendy Soto as the city’s first chief homelessness officer, a role that will entail her coordinating programs and strategies to fight homelessness across city departments and outside agencies and developing a five-year plan for addressing homelessness. The mayor announced the appointment Monday at the grand opening of Lawson House, a $128 million development that rehabilitated a 24-unit affordable residential apartment complex. Soto previously served as the senior director of community impact at the Chicago Community Trust and as a managing deputy commissioner of the Chicago Housing Authority. In a news release, Soto said “Chicago joins a small group of cities that have taken the bold step of creating a dedicated position that ensures every resident has access to safe, stable, and affordable housing … I am humbled by the opportunity to lead this work and I am ready to dream big.” The mayor said in a statement he “created this position to ensure that we are collaborating across departments and removing any and all obstacles that prevent people from securing stable housing,” Johnson said in a statement. “I look forward to working with (Soto) to develop a holistic strategy towards combating homelessness that centers the dignity and humanity of our unhoused neighbors.”

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