In April of 2022, CCH learned that the owner of Hotel Toledo, a single room occupancy (SRO) hotel located at 6219 S. Ashland Avenue, in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood had set in motion a process to evict every tenant living in the hotel, giving the tenants until April 30th to vacate the building with all their possessions. The only notice that tenants received was the notice posted at the hotel.
Many of the tenants facing eviction had been faithfully paying their rent prior to this eviction process being implemented by the Owner. The hotel was a long-term residence for most of the tenants – many of them had lived at Hotel Toledo for years. In addition, many of the tenants experienced homelessness prior to living at the Hotel Toledo.
The Law Project’s Case and Street Outreach Worker, Ali Simmons, it’s Director, Patricia Nix-Hodes, and Senior Attorney Arturo Hernandez, along with Nick Jefferson of CCH’s Organizing Department, immediately got involved. A meeting was held with approximately 13 of the tenants to determine exactly what was going on, and what the tenants wanted to do in response to the Owner’s actions to evict them.
During this meeting, the tenants overwhelmingly expressed that they wanted to stay at the hotel (which is also an SRO). After the meeting, CCH delivered a letter to the owner advising that the planned eviction was unlawful and violated the Chicago Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance and the Chicago Single Room Occupancy Preservation Ordinance.
CCH reached out to Lawyers Committee for Better Housing who agreed to represent one of the tenants in a court proceeding to have a temporary restraining order issued against the owner to stop the eviction.
CCH also reached out to City officials who also advised the owner that the eviction was unlawful and pursued legal action against the owner. These combined efforts were successful in stopping the owner’s attempt to illegally evict the tenants. The hotel was placed under a receivership which allows the hotel to remain open and the individuals living there. The illegal eviction notices were taken down, replaced with new notices advising tenants that they could stay.
CCH continues to work with and advocate for the tenants to ensure that they understand their rights going forward. In the continued conversation CCH learned that the tenants believed that Hotel Toledo, while not an ideal place to live, was stable enough until they could secure permanent housing. This is an example of how important affordable housing is, and Bring Chicago Home is the beginning of the answer! With more done to address homelessness, and the creation of more affordable housing, individuals will have viable options for housing that do not exist for them right now.