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Astor House
Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:16pm
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.

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
12:39pm
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.”