To the editors:

We wanted to clarify a false impression that came out of David Fremon’s commendable story on Single Room Housing in the June 10, 1988 Reader.

The future well-being of Single Room Occupancy housing (SROs) does NOT depend on whether not-for-profit groups acquire and operate these properties. Ninety-Nine percent of all SROs in Chicago are privately owned and have been providing a valuable service to the community by offering affordable permanent housing for thousands of Chicago’s poor.

Jean Butzen and the Lakefront SRO Corporation should be praised for taking the plunge into SRO housing. We need more responsible people such as herself involved in SRO housing. The Single Room Operators Association (SROA) encourages responsible individuals or groups to acquire and operate SRO housing, whether for profit or not-for-profit.

Although interest in SRO housing by not-for-profit groups is only recent, their participation is most welcome. As they get a taste of what operating SRO rental property is about, we believe they will also become convinced that they must control their costs and control their tenants if they are to succeed.

The Single Room Operators Association is committed to preserving existing SRO housing, and we have numerous programs under way to support our objectives.

We believe our efforts are paying off. This is supported by the fact that most of the SROs that changed hands during the last three years were acquired by individuals who are continuing to operate them as SROs, not just convert them into apartments or condominiums. In other words, SROs CAN be economically viable!

Eric Rubenstein


Single Room Operators Association, Inc.