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Quick Hit
by Matthew Blake
6:27pm
Mon Oct 29, 2012

City Touts Building Demolitions In Crime Prevention, But Is There A Connection?

Today, the city of Chicago demolished its “200th dangerous building” since July 12, according to the office of Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The mayor stated in a press release that demolitions are “preventing criminal activity in our neighborhoods.”

Is this true? “We’ve been knocking down houses since the 1930’s and it’s not clear if this has a significant effect on crime rates,” says Bradford Hunt, a sociology professor at Roosevelt University who studies Chicago housing issues.

Also in question: How does the city determine what properties see the wrecking ball?

Quick Hit
by Matthew Blake
4:29pm
Wed Oct 24, 2012

Chicago City Council: School Closing Hearing Will Be Held, Homeless Population Questioned

The Chicago City Council will hold hearings on what are rumored to be 80 to 120 neighborhood school closings, according to Ald. Latasha Thomas (17th), head of the council's education committee.

Thomas, who as education chairperson must convene such a panel, has previously been silent on a resolution signed by 32 aldermen calling for a school closing hearing. She told Progress Illinois that she would “absolutely” hold such a hearing.

Quick Hit
by Steven Ross Johnson
2:44pm
Fri Oct 19, 2012

U.S. Incomes Failing To Keep Pace With Rising Housing, Transportation Costs

Affordable-housing advocates are calling on local and state governments in the country’s 25 largest urban areas to address the rapid rate at which housing and transportation costs have risen over the past decade.

According to the findings of the new report, “Losing Ground”, the combined cost of housing and transportation within those metro areas increased by 44 percent between 2000 and 2010, while household incomes rose 25 percent during that same period.

Quick Hit
by Matthew Blake
3:17pm
Fri Aug 24, 2012

City Homeless Plan Includes Outsourcing Overnight Transport Services

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced a plan yesterday for which the city will spend $2.5 million a year to help its homeless residents. AFSCME Council 31 public employees union is upset about the plan because the strategy will outsource the city’s overnight homeless transport service.

Privatization plan aside, the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless says that Emanuel has at least taken steps toward identifying the scope of the homelessness problem in the city.

Quick Hit
by Matthew Blake
2:45pm
Thu Aug 16, 2012

Foreclosures Surge In Several South Side Communities

Foreclosure filings increased by exactly one percent in the city of Chicago between the first six months of 2011 and first half of 2012, according to data compiled by the Woodstock Institute. But the jump in foreclosures was more dramatic in a handful of struggling, mostly black neighborhoods on the South Side.

Filings in West Pullman were up 58.7 percent from 155 to 246 in the first half of this year compared to 2011. The number of foreclosures jumped in Englewood 24.1 percent from 141 to 175 and climbed in Calumet Heights 54 percent from 50 to 77.

Quick Hit
by Matthew Blake
3:51pm
Tue Aug 14, 2012

Emanuel Opposition May Squelch Use Of Eminent Domain On Foreclosures

A San Francisco-based firm spent the morning trying to sell the Chicago City Council on the idea that they can use eminent domain to seize properties in danger of falling into foreclosure. The firm argued that the use of eminent domain, which occurs when government acquires private property in the name of the greater good, could lead to the public benefit of fewer foreclosures. Representatives from Mortgage Resolution Partners LLC had the ear of Ald. Ed Burke (14th), chairman of the City Council Finance Committee, and the backing of Ald. Ray Suarez (31st), head of the Housing and Real Estate Committee.

But the effort was perhaps futile as Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel indicated at a press conference today that he opposes the plan.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Emanuel said that he did not think eminent domain was the “right instrument” to combat foreclosures.

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