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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Mon Mar 3, 2014

New Report Finds Gaps In Educational Supports For Illinois Homeless Students

The number of homeless students in Illinois has ballooned over recent years with many of these children and youth unable to access vital educational supports, according to a new survey and report from the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless

Given the recent findings, housing advocates say it is crucial that the state restore funding for the education of students with unstable homes.

"We’ve got this exploding population, but yet districts don’t have sufficient resources to adequately serve them," said Patricia Nix-Hodes, associate director of the law project at the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Tue Feb 25, 2014

Debate Over Luxury Housing Development In Uptown Rages On

An advisory zoning committee for Chicago's 46th Ward signed off on a private developer's request for $14 million in tax increment financing (TIF) assistance for a proposed luxury housing complex in Uptown at its monthly meeting Monday night.

The 46th Ward’s Zoning and Development Committee, put in place by Ald. James Cappleman (46th), approved preliminary plans for JDL Development's TIF project despite opposition from low-income housing advocates in the area.

A group of about 30 community activists staged a protest outside of Cappleman's office Monday night before attending the zoning meeting, held at Weiss Memorial Hospital. The protestors toted signs reading, "Stop displacing our neighborhood" and "Save Uptown diversity." 

"Cappleman, as alderman over his tenure in office, repeatedly supported gentrification projects that affect the community in ways that force out diversity from Uptown and that have devastating effects on low-income communities and communities of color in Uptown," community activist Ashley Bohrer said at the protest. "Building affordable housing would be the best way to use public money for public services, and that means helping communities that are in the most need." 

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
Wed Feb 5, 2014

Chicago City Council Roundup: Aldermen OK $1.9 Billion In Borrowing; Ervin Wants A State Rep. To Resign

Progress Illinois provides a recap of Wednesday's Chicago City Council meeting.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Fri Jan 31, 2014

Chicago Housing Activists Picket Logan Square Building Owner Over Evictions, Rent Increases

Chanting "No more evictions!", a group of about 60 Chicago housing activists picketed outside the office of a Logan Square property management firm Thursday evening to call out the company for allegedly displacing tenants from one of its apartment buildings.

Last fall, M. Fishman & Company, which describes itself on its website as “Chicago’s premier property management company,” took over a 50-unit apartment building in Logan Square at 2536 N. Sawyer Ave. According to current tenants, the company in October sent most of the residents who did not have an existing lease a 30-day notice to vacate the building. 

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
Tue Jan 28, 2014

Housing Activists Call For Increased Oversight Of CHA, More Affordable Units (VIDEO)

The Chicago City Council’s Committee on Housing and Real Estate approved the 2014-2018 Five-Year Housing Plan on Tuesday, despite activists’ criticisms that the plan fails to ramp up oversight of the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) and therefore does not guarantee increased affordable housing units across the city. 

Implemented by the Department of Planning and Development (DPD), the housing plan outlines the city’s $1.3 billion investment in the construction, rehabilitation and preservation of more than 41,000 affordable housing units. It was passed by a 8 - 2 vote, with Alds. Scott Waguespack (32nd) and Nick Sposato (36th) voting against it. The plan will be considered by the full Chicago City Council on February 5.

But, according to members of the Chicago Housing Initiative (CHI), the city's plan should apply more pressure on the CHA to ensure the agency fills vacant public housing units, shrinks the housing wait list, which currently sits at more than 42,000 people, and replaces demolished public housing units.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
Wed Jan 15, 2014

Chicago City Council Roundup: E-Cigs, Affordable Housing & Charter Expansion

Progress Illinois recaps some of the happenings at Wednesday's Chicago City Council meeting.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Thu Oct 31, 2013

Astor House Tenants Protest Building Conditions, Management As Original Renters Continue To Be Pushed Out

One the last remaining affordable housing tenants at the Astor House in Rogers Park saw support from a small group of activists who gathered outside the Daley Center Thursday morning prior to his eviction trial.

The tenant, Melvin Jennings, 58, lives in the 147-unit Astor House, which some say is one of the last affordable housing developments in the Rogers Park nighborhood on Chicago's far North Side.

Jennings moved into the Astor House, located at 1246 W. Pratt Blvd., in October 2012, shortly before BJB Properties stepped in to whip the troubled property into shape. The housing organizers argue, however, that BJB took over the property with the intent of quickly rehabbing the units and then marketing them to higher-paying renters, specifically students from nearby Loyola University. The company manages three other buildings in the Rogers Park area and more than 30 others on the North Side, according to its website.

Jennings said he pays $700 a month for a one-bedroom apartment, and BJB Properties has already hiked the rent for similar units.

"Now they're asking for the same one bedroom [for] $850 [to] $900, and you got an elevator problem, you got rodent problems," he said.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
Wed Oct 16, 2013

Community Members Launch Economic Plan To 'Take Back Chicago' (VIDEO)

Chicagoans packed a town hall meeting Tuesday evening to launch a new social and economic justice agenda for the city. Progress Illinois was there to learn more about "Take Back Chicago."