“Where are we going to go when we ain’t got nowhere to live?” asked Casimiro Peña, a housing organizer with Northside Action for Justice in Chicago. “It’s getting cold outside folks. Better lay down.”
With that, Peña and a group of approximately 50 other protesters with the Lift the Ban coalition—a pro-rent-control group—pulled out blankets, pillows and sleeping bags, setting up a makeshift camp inside the James R. Thompson Center, an Illinois government office, on the morning of Jan. 31. With hundreds of thousands of Chicagoans facing a housing affordability crisis, the group demanded that Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Illinois legislators hear their frustrations about the displacement that low-income communities face as rents climb ever higher.