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Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
4:44pm
Fri Sep 13, 2013

Protesters Call On First Merit Bank To Support Low-Income Tenants, Be A 'Responsible Lender' (VIDEO)

By providing BJB Properties, and other building owners, with financial support for the purchase and renovation of housing developments in Chicago, First Merit Bank is an accomplice to the decimation of the city’s affordable housing, according to a group of protesters who took their message to a downtown branch on Friday.

“They’re not investing money to develop communities, they’re investing money based on real estate speculation. That’s not in the best interest of the tenants,” said Marc Kaplan, one of roughly 10 participants in Friday’s rally and a member of Northside Action for Justice. “There’s no affordable housing left on the North Side.”

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
12:43pm
Thu Sep 12, 2013

Public Housing Activists: CHA's Plan To Purge 47,000 People From Wait List 'Unacceptable'

Housing activists are outraged that Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) officials are looking to remove more than 47,000 people from its public housing and voucher wait list as proposed in its Moving to Work (MTW) Annual Plan for fiscal year 2014.

“I am stunned by CHA’s decision to strip so many people permanently off the list and to deprive them of a chance for affordable housing,” Mary Nelson, who is homeless and currently on the wait list, said before CHA’s public hearing Wednesday evening regarding the draft plan.

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. 

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