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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
4:52pm
Wed Sep 10, 2014

Chicago City Council Roundup: Inspector General's Authority, SROs & CHA Oversight

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

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.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
12:18pm
Tue Sep 2, 2014

Housing Needs Grow For An Aging America; Low-Income Illinoisans Struggle To Find Affordable Rentals

Progress Illinois takes a look at two recently-released housing reports. One highlights the growing housing needs of America's aging population, while the other examines the shortage of affordable rental units available for low-income households at the state and national levels.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
9:32am
Mon Aug 18, 2014

Chicagoans Raise Concerns Over Proposed Washington Park TIF District

Chicago's Community Development Commission advanced a controversial plan to the city council last Tuesday that would create a new tax increment financing district in the economically struggling Washington Park neighborhood on the South Side, despite opposition from some local residents. Progress Illinois takes a closer look at the issue.

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.

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