Thousands of Chicago-area residents are eligible for, but have not taken advantage of, the federal Home Affordable Refinance Program, or HARP, which provides refinance opportunities for certain underwater homeowners.
Nearly 36,000 borrowers in the Chicago metro area are eligible to save between $2,000 to $3,000 annually by refinancing their mortgages as part of the program, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Hundreds of concerned parents and community members rallied at a vocal Logan Square meeting Tuesday night and then marched through the neighborhood with candles in hand to protest a recent Chicago Board of Education decision to turn Ames Middle School into a military academy. The protesters also voiced their uncertainty about the future of Kelvyn Park High School.
The Logan Square Neighborhood Association's 52nd Congress saw a discussion that covered a variety of important community issues, but chief among them was a strong feeling that Chicago Public School officials and Mayor Rahm Emanuel are not listening to the concerns of area residents.
“There is a very clear reason the leadership at CPS is not responsive to the community, and that’s because they aren’t accountable to us’’ said State Rep. Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago), who was elected two months ago due to, in part, his strong backing from Chicago teachers and his support of an elected school board. “The community is mourning the loss of Ames and needs assurance from all its leaders that there is a plan for Kelvyn Park.’’
St. Edmund's Village Apartments, a South Side housing complex subsidized by the Chicago Low-Income Housing Trust Fund, is infested with bed bugs, rodents, and mold, according to one tenant and a group of housing activists who protested outside of the nonprofit’s board meeting in the Loop on Tuesday.
The building’s owner, Rev. Richard Tolliver, is a slumlord, the activists allege. He is president and CEO of St. Edmund’s Redevelopment Corporation, which purchased the complex in 1999. He was also appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to serve on the Low-Income Housing Trust Fund’s board of directors.
“The building is crawling with bed bugs, roaches, rats ... it has leaky windows, mold, busted pipes and the management is no good,” said Janet Wilson, 43, a resident at St. Edmund's for more than 13 years. “The mayor has a slumlord on his team.”