No heat, intermittent hot water and displacement.
That’s what residents at Catalyst Realty buildings, 6725-6733 S. Paxton Ave., in South Shore said they’ve been going through over the past month.
Alfonzo Northington, a tenant at one of the Catalyst Realty apartments, said he wasn’t able to work from home during the time the heat was off.
“It was really terrible,” Northington said.
City building records show that at one of the buildings in early January, there was inadequate heating: one apartment at 49 degrees and another at 59 degrees. Another record shows allegations of one boiler being out of service.
Catalyst said in a statement that the company purchased two separate boilers.
Northington said the heat went off in late December and residents weren’t moved into hotels until late January. That move was prompted by city inspectors deeming the complex a fire hazard due to residents having to heat their homes in unconventional ways, he added.
Catalyst said it covered the cost of temporary housing at hotels for impacted residents.
Now, Northington has been relocated by Catalyst to another one of its apartments.
Some organizers said the situation highlights concerns over possible displacement and rising housing costs caused by the coming Obama Presidential Center, just blocks away.
Dixon Romeo, an organizer with Not Me We, said the center creates a “speculative force” that allows property management companies to look at tenants and try and figure out ways to cut costs to “maximize profits later” because new people are moving to the neighborhood.
The Obama Foundation said in a statement in part that: “We have applauded the work of the advocates, community, and city leaders who came together to address the needs of residents who sought to help to keep housing costs affordable. Those efforts came from the shared commitment that people who want to stay in this community should be able to do so.”
Romeo said the city should have a Community Benefits Agreement in place for South Shore and other communities around the center, which would expand tenant protections and preserve affordable housing in the neighborhood.
“Obama, yes,” Romeo said, “displacement no.”