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Homeowner Assistance
Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:45pm
Tue Jun 16

South Side Group Launches Campaign Around Obama Library Community Benefits Agreement

With the Obama presidential library set to come to either Jackson or Washington parks in Chicago, a South Side group is seeking help in crafting a proposed community benefits agreement (CBA) to ensure local residents and businesses are not displaced by the possible gentrification that could come with the project.

The Bronzeville Regional Collective, comprised of South Side organizations and community development advocates, has created a seven-point CBA blueprint for the Obama library development.

"We don't want to see the South Side become what Lincoln Park was in the '60s and '70s," said Bronzeville Regional Collective member Anton Seals Jr., who is also on the South Shore Planning and Preservation Coalition's board.

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

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.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
5:31pm
Wed Oct 8, 2014

Chicago Aldermen Approve IG Measure, Washington Park TIF; Elected School Board Referendum Gets Squeezed

Progress Illinois provides highlights from Wednesday's Chicago City Council meeting.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
1:17pm
Fri Aug 15, 2014

Albany Park Community Land Trust Close To Locking In First Home Donation (VIDEO)

Leaders with Centro Autónomo in Albany Park say the group's effort to establish a community land trust to secure affordable housing in the northwest Chicago neighborhood is moving forward.

Centro Autónomo, also known as the Albany Park Autonomous Center, is currently asking financial institutions to donate local homes in foreclosure to its Casas del Pueblo Community Land Trust, a non-profit that wants to turn the properties into permanent affordable housing for low-income residents. Both Casas del Pueblo and the Centro Autónomo are projects of the Mexico Solidarity Network.

So far, no homes have been donated to the community land trust, which officially launched in 2011. But Antonio Gutierrez, housing coordinator at Centro Autónomo, said the organization has a negotiation session planned for September with Fannie Mae. Another meeting with a national representative of donations for Wells Fargo is scheduled for the end of August.

Gutierrez and others with the effort are optimistic the community land trust will receive its first donated home within the next several months. 

"Casas del Pueblo needs to put as much pressure as we can right now [on the financial institutions], because this is a time when we're almost sure that we can get this donation by the end of the year," he said.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:47pm
Fri Jul 11, 2014

FHFA: 36,000 Underwater Chicago-Area Homeowners Eligible For Refinance Program (VIDEO)

Thousands of Chicago-area residents are eligible for, but have not taken advantage of, the federal Home Affordable Refinance Program, or HARP, which provides refinance opportunities for certain underwater homeowners.

Nearly 36,000 borrowers in the Chicago metro area are eligible to save between $2,000 to $3,000 annually by refinancing their mortgages as part of the program, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.