Burns talks health care, housing at meeting

Fourth Ward Alderman Will Burns held an open meeting where community members discussed the Affordable Care Act and a new housing project on East 41st Street.

By Isaac Stein

Fourth Ward Alderman Will Burns (A.B. ’95, A.M. ’98) played host to a lively community discussion on Monday evening, fielding questions ranging in subject from local enrollment in the Affordable Care Act to a new housing development in Bronzeville.

Angela Gibson, a representative from the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace, gave a presentation on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and encouraged attendants of the meeting to buy health insurance through the new online exchanges set up by the government to provide a marketplace for citizens to purchase health care. She reminded interested residents that they must sign up by December 15.

Additionally, Gibson said that if anyone attempting to buy insurance online could not access the federal government’s enrollment forms on healthcare.gov, he or she could sign up via the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services Web site instead.

After Gibson finished, Robert Koerner, director of the soon-to-be-completed Sullivan Station apartment complex on East 41st Street in Bronzeville, presented an outline of the project at the meeting. Turner said the project, owned by real estate firm Draper and Kramer, represents a residential revitalization of an area previously occupied by public housing. The land had been left vacant for more than a decade after the housing was destroyed.

“Fifteen years ago, a large public housing complex was destroyed at this very location. I don’t want to go into the details—there were a lot of lawsuits with that demolition—but this project works with the Chicago Housing Authority, as they still own some land on the property,” Turner said.

According to Turner, Sullivan Station apartments consist of 132 one-two-and three-bedroom apartments, in mid-rise construction. Of these apartments, some are rented at market rate, and others are offered at discount for working people who earn 60 percent or less of the median income in Chicago. Additionally, the Chicago Housing Authority operates 47 apartments in the complex, which are not owned by Draper and Kramer.

Sullivan Station apartments are scheduled to be fully completed within two weeks.

Burns represents the Fourth Ward, which extends roughly from East 26th Street in Bronzeville to East 55th Street in Hyde Park. The monthly community meeting was open to the public and took place at the West Point Baptist Church in Bronzeville.