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Homeownership
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.

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
1:08pm
Tue Aug 12, 2014

Report: High Housing Costs Persist For Millions Of Americans, Renters Hit The Worst

The U.S. housing industry saw some progress in 2013 due in part to increased housing construction as well as rising home prices and sales, according to the annual State of the Nation’s Housing report by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University.

Despite areas of improvement, however, the report found that homeownership rates are still trending downward, low-income households face persistent challenges finding affordable housing and millions of Americans continue to grapple with high housing costs.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
4:11pm
Tue Jul 15, 2014

Chicago Aldermen, CPS Officials Discuss Steps To Address 'Resegregation' Of Top High Schools (UPDATED)

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) officials were in the hot seat at a City Hall hearing on Tuesday over enrollment standards for the school district's most selective public high schools. Progress Illinois provides highlights from the hearing.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
1:27pm
Thu Jun 27, 2013

Housing Costs Severely Burden Millions Of Americans, Reaches A Record High

The U.S. housing recovery is gaining traction due in part to an increase in multi-family housing construction and rising home prices, according to the annual State of the Nation’s Housing report released Wednesday by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.

Despite areas of improvement, the report found that millions of American homeowners are still late on mortgage payments or owe more than what their homes are actually worth, and low-income households face continued challenges finding affordable housing.

The number of Americans shouldering severe housing cost burdens has also set a new record, according to the report.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
1:17pm
Fri May 17, 2013

Report: Chicago Homeowners Lost $3.1 Billion In Wealth Last Year, Communities Of Color Hit The Hardest

The city of Chicago lost more than $3.1 billion in wealth, or about $2,900 per household, in 2012 as a result of the foreclosure crisis, according to a new report from the Alliance for a Just Society.

And more than $192 billion in homeowner wealth was lost nationally last year, the new analysis shows.

Communities of color in Chicago saw more foreclosures and lost wealth per household compared to other communities.

In 2012, the average Chicago household in zip codes with the highest concentration of people of color lost $3,700 in wealth, the “Wasted Wealth” (PDF) report found.

In comparison, the average wealth lost in segregated white communities was about $1,300 per household.

“Seeing this loss of wealth per household is profound," said the Rev. Marilyn Pagán-Banks, president of IIRON, which also worked on the release of the report. "People of color in Chicago, whose majority equity holdings remain in real estate, have been particularly affected by the crisis.”