Chicago Activists Press Alds. Cappleman, O'Connor To Support $15 Minimum Wage (VIDEO)

While working roughly 60 hours a week at two jobs, Ovadhwah McGee says he lives paycheck to paycheck and struggles to pay his bills each month.

McGee, a single father living in the South Side Woodlawn neighborhood with his 13-year-old son, said he works as an in-home care worker and a certified nursing assistant, making an hourly wage of $12.35 and $13.50, respectively.

“I need to be able to put food on my table without having to go to food pantries. I need to be able to work one job so I can actually spend time with my son,” he said, adding that he can’t afford to get his car fixed and thus spends two hours on public transit every day to get to and from work.

“I’m here fighting for a $15 minimum wage in the city of Chicago because I need it, because my son needs it and because working families across the city need it,” McGee said.

McGee and roughly two-dozen protesters, members of the Raise Chicago coalition, rallied to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 per hour Thursday morning. The ralliers called on two Chicago aldermen — Alds. Patrick O’Connor (40th) and James Cappleman (46th) — to support their cause by protesting outside of their offices. The activists also demonstrated outside of a North Side McDonald’s restaurant.

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Chicago Housing Activists Fight To Save A Rogers Park 'Community House' (VIDEO)

Chicago housing activists are fighting to halt the eviction of tenants living in a Rogers Park home who have turned the property into a community center.

The tenants of the home, located at 7245 N. Ridge Ave., had their first eviction court date Thursday morning at the Richard J. Daley Center, and about a dozen community members came out to support them.

Jorge Ortiz, an organizer with Communities United Against Foreclosure and Eviction, lives in the home with his family, including his mother and uncle. Ortiz and his family moved into the Rogers Park home two years ago after the previous property owner, who was facing foreclosure, abandoned it. The current tenants, with the help of Communities United Against Foreclosure and Eviction, turned the property into a "community house," which has a neighborhood garden and hosts clothing drives, movie screenings and health fairs, activists said.

The tenants and their supporters want CitiMortgage, which the organizers say currently owns the home after purchasing it at a foreclosure auction, to negotiate with them and consider donating the property or selling it at a low cost to a Chicago-based community land trust.

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Census Bureau: Child Poverty Rate Falls Substantially, Number Of Uninsured Ticks Down

America's poverty rate declined from 15 percent in 2012 to 14.5 percent last year, marking the first statistically significant decrease since 2006, according to new figures from the U.S. Census Bureau.

An increase in the number of year-round, full-time workers helped lower the overall poverty rate, Census Bureau officials said. Between 2012 and 2013, the number of men and women working full time, year-round with earnings increased by 1.8 million and 1.0 million, respectively, the figures showed. In 2013, a total of 60.8 million men and 45.1 million worked full-time.

The child poverty rate also dropped significantly from 21.8 percent in 2012 to 19.9 percent in 2013, while the share of uninsured Americans also fell slightly during the same time.

Despite bright spots in the new Census reports on income, poverty and health insurance, Robert Greenstein with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities said the economy strengthened too slowly in 2013 "to improve the living standards of many middle- and low-income Americans."

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Activists Protest Near West Side Shooting Involving Chicago Police

A weekend shooting involving Chicago police sparked a protest on the city's Near West Side Monday evening.

On Saturday, Denzel Ford, 20, was shot by a Chicago cop after he allegedly attempted to run down an officer with his vehicle. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, officers in an unmarked vehicle stopped Ford near the corner of Western Ave. and Lake St. on suspicion of selling narcotics. Police allege that Ford refused to comply with orders to leave the vehicle and instead accelerated, striking the unmarked police vehicle, which then struck two officers and injured one. A police officer then fired multiple gunshots, wounding Ford.

Community members and relatives of Ford dispute the official story from police.

Kemesha Ford told the crowd of a few dozen demonstrators Monday that her cousin was not a killer.

“We are sick and tired of the police shooting our kids,” said Ford. “Everybody is not a killer. Everybody isn’t doing crime. He was unjustly shot.”

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Town Hall Meeting Illuminates TIF Use In Chicago's 2nd Ward

South Loop residents and other Chicagoans weighed the pros and cons of using tax increment financing (TIF) in the city's 2nd Ward at a community meeting Monday night.

The seven TIF districts located almost completely or 100 percent within the 2nd Ward, which currently includes the South Loop, West Loop and Bronzeville neighborhoods, raked in more than $1 billion in property tax revenue since their inception through the end of 2013, according to city data revealed by the CivicLab at the meeting, hosted by the Prairie District Neighborhood Alliance, a South Loop community organization.

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