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Quick Hit
by Michael Joyce
2:00pm
Mon May 23, 2016

Housing Activists March Through Logan Square In Protest Of Gentrification

The voices of the displaced were heard throughout Logan Square on Saturday as demonstrators shouted and chanted over a bed of drums and shakers, calling on Ald. Joe Moreno (1st) to stop the gentrification of the neighborhood.

Local advocacy groups Somos Logan Square, Centro Autonomo and Grassroots Illinois Action came together for an action titled, "Our Neighborhood is Not for Sale."

The march started outside Moreno's office, located at 2740 W. North Ave., and eventually moved on to the nearby Twin Towers development.

Antonio Gutierrez, development coordinator of Centro Autonomo's housing project, says such actions are necessary because the alderman refuses to establish a dialogue with advocacy groups.

"We have tried to set up meetings, as we saw today [when] we went to his office," said Gutierrez. "They just looked out, locked the door. They didn't invite us in. That's what we're seeing with Joe Moreno, a closed-door policy."

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
1:29pm
Thu Dec 17, 2015

South Side Family Facing Foreclosure Eviction Fighting To Keep Their Home

A Washington Heights family facing foreclosure eviction is pleading for an opportunity to repurchase their longtime home from Fannie Mae while staying in the property.

Quick Hit
by Michael Joyce
6:44pm
Mon Nov 9, 2015

Protesters Speak Out Against The Gentrification Of Chicago's Albany Park Neighborhood

As a sign reading "Barnett Capital, Here Displacement is Strictly Business" flapped in the chill November wind Saturday, protesters stayed warm by chanting, passing out flyers, and getting signatures for a petition against displacement in the Albany Park neighborhood.

Residents of 4834 N. Springfield Ave., many of whom are Centro Autonomo members, say they were given a 30-day notice to move out of their building by it's new owner, Barnett Capital LLC.

Residents claim that this eviction is in retaliation against their attempts to get repairs done on the building and form a tenants' union.

When ownership of the building changed hands in August of 2014, the tenants saw an opportunity for needed changes to be made to the property.

"We got notice before that there were certain code violations, and once the building was sold, we saw it as a perfect opportunity to have those taken care of," explained Barbara Suarez, an organizer with Centro Autonomo. "We brought a building inspector in, he recorded various code violations, including a furnace in the back room, which should be in a separate room by itself."

Quick Hit
by Michael Joyce
4:51pm
Thu Jul 30, 2015

New Housing Campaign Casts Spotlight On Those At Risk Of Foreclosure, Eviction

Demonstrators gathered outside of several downtown financial institutions this week to launch a social media campaign highlighting the fact that while the financial crisis might be over, many are still at risk of eviction from their homes.

The demonstration began outside of the Citibank on 11 South LaSalle St. Tuesday, where demonstrators chanted, "We got sold out, banks got bailed out."

The ralliers continued on to four other financial institutions in the area: Chase Bank, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Fannie Mae.

This demonstration marks the launch of the Fannie/Freddy 99 Coalition's national social media campaign, called "We Are the Faces of Eviction."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:42pm
Wed Jan 28, 2015

Activists Bring Fight To Save A Rogers Park 'Community House' To Citibank (VIDEO)

About 30 Chicago housing activists picketed outside a Citibank branch Wednesday morning as part of their ongoing fight to save a Rogers Park "community house."

Organizers toted signs reading, "I support the house on Ridge" and "Housing is a human right," while tenants of the home, located at 7245 N. Ridge Ave., were inside the branch attempting to meet with a Citibank mortgage representative to discuss their offer to purchase the foreclosed property.

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 in 2012 after the previous property owner, who was facing foreclosure, abandoned it. Organizers said Citibank later purchased the home at a foreclosure auction.

The current tenants of the bank-owned home, with the help of Communities United Against Foreclosure and Eviction, turned the property into a "community house" that hosts clothing drives, movie screenings, health fairs and other neighborhood events. People who have had difficulties finding affordable housing also stay there, organizers said. The tenants at the property are currently facing eviction.

Quick Hit
by Wendell Hutson
1:35pm
Fri Nov 7, 2014

Woodlawn Legal Clinic Offers Free Counsel To Low-Income Chicagoans In Need

Once a month, needy individuals with legal problems can start to find some relief at a South Side clinic.

The Woodlawn Legal Clinic at AKArama Center, 6220 S. Ingleside Ave., is open every second Wednesday of the month from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. The clinic caters to those seeking assistance in dealing with any number of legal problems, including martial and housing issues.

Ald. Willie Cochran (20th), whose ward includes the clinic, said additional opportunities for free legal assistance are necessary to help the growing number of families in need.

"Not everyone understands how to handle legal matters and as a result things sometimes go from bad to worse for them," said Cochran, a former Chicago police officer. "This clinic helps people understand the process."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:40pm
Thu Sep 18, 2014

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.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
3:07pm
Mon Sep 8, 2014

Chicago-Area Foreclosures Hit Pre-Recession Levels, But The Housing Crisis Is Far From Over

Chicago's six-county region recorded 13,916 new foreclosure filings in the first half of 2014, a nearly 38 percent drop from a year ago and the lowest level reached since 2007, according to a report by the Woodstock Institute. Local housing activists working to help struggling homeowners offer their take on the new data as well as policies meant to stymie the ongoing negative effects of foreclosures.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
1:11pm
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. 

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