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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:37pm
Tue Aug 27, 2013

Illinois Enacts Landmark Homeless Bill Of Rights

Homeless people in Illinois often run into roadblocks when they try to vote, apply for a job and access various public services due to their housing status.

But Illinois took a significant step earlier this month to help improve the situation of those without a roof over their heads by becoming the second U.S. state to enact a Homeless Bill of Rights.

Under the new state law, which took effect immediately, people cannot be discriminated against or denied basic equal rights merely because they lack a permanent address.

Bob Palmer, policy director at Housing Action Illinois, said the recent effort is also about ending the stigma associated with people who are experiencing homelessness.

“The one thing that everyone who is homeless has in common is that they can’t afford a home, and so homelessness is really an economic problem,” Palmer said. “To focus on somebody’s personal short comings is a diversion from the real problem.”

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
12:39pm
Thu Aug 22, 2013

Rogers Park Residents Set To Be Evicted Call On Ald. Moore For Help (VIDEO)

Affordable housing activists and tenants of the Astor House on Pratt Boulevard held a prayer vigil and protest outside Ald. Joe Moore’s (49th) office in Rogers Park Wednesday evening.

The approximately 30 protestors called on Moore to “stand for affordable housing” and help convene a meeting between the Astor House’s low-income tenants and the building’s new owner, BJB Properties, which took over the property in October.

The activists say the Astor House, 1246 W. Pratt Blvd., is one of the only remaining affordable housing buildings left in Rogers Park, and BJB is attempting to evict some of the lower-income residents so the property can be rehabbed and marketed to Loyola University students at higher rents. A handful of the building’s tenants are set to be evicted in the next two weeks, the protestors said.

“Many of these families have nowhere to go but the street,” said the Rev. Kenneth Wesbrooks of a Work of Faith Ministries in Rogers Park. “They wont be in shelters. They wont be in SROs. They will be on the street.” 

PI Original
by Ashlee Rezin
11:22am
Wed Aug 21, 2013

Protesters Call On Fannie Mae, Bank Of America To Change Lending, Foreclosure Policies (VIDEO)

Protesters took to a downtown Bank of America branch and Fannie Mae’s corporate offices in Chicago Tuesday to urge one of the nation’s largest home mortgage servicers and the largest home mortgage investor to change their lending and foreclosure policies. Progress Illinois was there for the action. 

PI Original
by Ashlee Rezin
2:03pm
Thu Aug 15, 2013

Seniors Say They Endure Deplorable Conditions, Inept Management At South Side CHA Housing Complex

The Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) is allowing roughly 250 residents of the Judge Slater Senior Apartments and the Judge Slater Annex to live in deplorable conditions with hostile management, according to a group of residents who are calling for agency officials to halt contracting with the building’s management company, the Woodlawn Community Development Corporation (WCDC). Progress Illinois takes a closer look at the seniors' allegations.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
3:17pm
Tue Aug 13, 2013

Family On The Brink Of Losing Their Home Asks For Mercy, Loan Modification: 'We're In Big Trouble' (VIDEO)

A family on the verge of homelessness due to foreclosure asked a Cook County Circuit judge on Tuesday if he would turn down TCF National Bank’s Motion for Order of Possession for their house.

Domynika Pawelczak-Gutierrez, 36, who has lived with her family in Chicago’s Garfield Ridge neighborhood on the 5300 block of South Major Avenue for eight years, said the bank feels entitled to do business as usual, when the conditions under which she is losing her home are “anything but usual.”

The same week her husband lost his job in 2009, her teenage daughter, Hilary, underwent spinal fusion surgery, which forced her to be bedridden and required home care for roughly two months. Pawelczak-Gutierrez said the family was forced to rely on her income as a server to live and pay for Hilary’s medical expenses.

“We’ve been through a lot — I started using credit cards and getting myself more and more in debt. But we’re just starting to start over,” said Pawelczak-Gutierrez, who added that she filed for bankruptcy earlier this year. “I’m running out of options, I don’t know where we’ll go or what we’ll do if we lose the house.”

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