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PB49: Policy & Programs Committee

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Apply for the community cash program!

The City of Chicago's 2022 approved budget included a unique opportunity for each ward to receive $100,000 in funds for microgrant opportunities. This funding is for registered non-profit organizations with the Secretary of State to provide programming and services to each ward. 

In 2020, the 49th Ward posed an open-ended question during its participatory budgeting process: "If you could change one thing about our community that would make life better for you, what would it be?" This open-ended question led to a range of responses, from traditional capital infrastructure ideas to broader policy and programs recommendations. Born out of that was the 49th Wards first-ever Policy and Programs Committee. 

This committee spent months weeding through the responses and identifying priority areas for the community. In the 2020 cycle, voters then took to the participatory ballot to vote on which policy and program areas they felt were the most important and that should shape Alderwoman Hadden's legislative agenda at City Council. With this unique microgrant opportunity, we now are able to put our money where our values are.

Learn more about the scope of the grant, eligibility requirements, and how to apply by clicking the button below.

About the Committee

At the beginning of the 2020 PB49 process, the Alderwoman asked residents: “If you could change one thing about the Rogers Park community, what would it be?”


The PB49 Policy & Programs Committee was created to review the submitted PB49 survey entries that do not qualify for infrastructure money under PB guidelines. Instead of discarding these policy and program ideas, Alderwoman Hadden, after a decade of hands-on experience administrating community-led participatory budgeting programs nationwide, added a community-led committee to address the vital policy and programming interests of her constituents. 


The volunteer PB49 Policy & Programs Committee put in 15 hours of group meeting time and over 100 hours of research and collaboration distilling the essence of the community-at-large input into five (5) specific ballot measures for community consideration.

The members of the 2020 PB49 Policy and Programs Committee coalesced as a group because of a shared commitment to transparency, community-centered change, and democracy.  We spent our time narrowing down a list of 150 ideas, first to a dozen themes, and then to these five ballot measures. To demonstrate our commitment to transparency we decided to make available the entire list of ideas with which we started. We also wanted to expand below on the ideas that led to the ballot measures themselves. We believe this transparency, endorsed by Alderwoman Hadden, will encourage more community members to step up and volunteer to make your ideas a reality!

Key Issues

Affordable Housing & Zoning


Ward residents would like to see a dedicated focus on providing more affordable housing. This could be achieved through a combination of: (1) a zoning committee that focuses on maintaining and developing the unique character of the ward, 2) direct rental assistance and eviction prevention, and 3) exploration of broader policies that affect housing costs and stability of W49 residents.


Affordable Housing:


  • Families and individuals whose incomes fall below the median income level deserve to raise their children and live their lives in Rogers Park. 


  • In Rogers Park, housing insecurity is rising at an alarming rate. Rents are increasingly unaffordable and pathways to home-ownership for families are disappearing.


  • Increasingly undemocratic trends continue to homogenize the community, making Rogers Park unlivable for immigrant and non-immigrant families and individuals struggling in uncertain times. 


  • Realistic paths to home ownership and co-operative shared-equity property ownership will keep Rogers Park a diverse community, increase housing security, and improve community value. 


  • We recommend zoning changes/binding policies, government-backed programs that make housing co-operatives, rent-to-own programs, and community land trusts possible.


Equitable and Fair Zoning :


  • As a Committee, we support a representative, equitable, and fair zoning committee for guiding 49th Ward building, business and housing development.


  • A comprehensive Equitable and Fair Zoning Policy and Process for the 49th Ward is needed for responsible development in Rogers Park.


  • As a Committee, we believe all 49th Ward residents and business owners deserve a voice in shaping development to continue to breathe new life into 49th Ward democracy.


Business Development


Ward residents are interested in supporting and sustaining new and existing businesses that are community-driven, community-owned, and community- operated, including a proactive review of commercial spaces and vacant properties.


  • Our committee can develop democratic policies and programs with Alderwoman Hadden, local businesses, business chambers, alliances, associations, and ward residents that will support a diverse, eclectic, and thriving business community in the 49th Ward.


  • Ward 49 consumers, local businesses, local business chambers, alliances, and associations are vital to maintaining and supporting a business community that can rival other high-tax revenue business districts.


Policing/Restorative Justice


Ward residents called for divesting from the current police budget in order to redirect those funds to much-needed social, health, and housing programs. Examples included: (1) a committee to further explore what community support and alternative resources to calling the police can or should exist and (2) investing in increased use of restorative justice and other alternative forms of dispute resolution and justice-seeking. 


  • Research best practices & build community support for non-law enforcement services and transformative justice programs, including through direct outreach and media campaigns.


  • Boost awareness of programs and policies that secure restorative justice for all in the community.


  • Uplift resources and policies that support formerly incarcerated individuals in the 49th Ward. 


Youth Engagement


Ward residents support creating and sustaining programs that uplift and empower our young residents.


  • Recognizing that our young residents are community stakeholders, engage them to create more awareness of, and support for, youth focused entities such as the 49th Ward Youth Committee.


  • Identify and support any other ward and city-wide programs that empower youth.


Developing a Community Hub


Ward residents expressed a desire for a physical space (post-COVID) to serve as a community "hub” including recreation and resources. This could be achieved through either: (1) lifting up and coordinating existing community spaces and resources, (2) enhancing coordination and utilization of previous PB49 projects that are underutilized, and/or (3) exploring the development of a new space. 


  • Create more awareness of existing programs, resources, and physical spaces for the 49th Ward residents.


  • Coordinate with the 49th Ward Youth Committee and other stakeholders to identify alternate programs and safe spaces specifically for teens.


  • Aide the growth of Block Clubs by working with existing programs and volunteers in the 49th Ward.


  • Research the call for a physical community center for the 49th Ward.

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