Recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau show that Illinois’ poverty rate continued to hover near 15 percent last year.
to the new American Community Survey data, 14.7 percent Illinoisans, or
1.85 million people, were living in poverty in 2012. That’s not much of
a statistical change from 2011, when 15 percent of people, or 1.88
million, were in poverty.
At the national level, the poverty rate also remained fixed last year at 15 percent, impacting some 46.5 million Americans.
nationally and in Illinois, more people were working over the course of
the year, and that didn’t translate into decreased poverty,” said Amy
Terpstra, associate director of the Heartland Alliance’s Social
IMPACT Research Center.
Public Housing activists say it is unacceptable that the Chicago
Housing Authority (CHA) has once again broken its promise to deliver
replacement housing units for former residents of the now demolished
Harold Ickes Homes, which saw its last families move out in 2010.
Ickes public housing buildings on the near South Side had more than
1,000 units before they were torn down between 2009 to 2010. CHA has
yet to bring back 312 replacement units that it promised to construct,
and it appears there are no concrete plans to build any of them in 2014,
according to CHA’s proposed 2014 Moving to Work (MTW) Annual Plan.
Thursday, more than a dozen former Ickes residents and their supporters
gathered at a vacant lot at State Street and Cermak Road, one of the
former Ickes sites.
“It is unfortuante that every time
that housing numbers were supposed to be promised, those numbers were
reduced,” said the Rev. Robert Jones of Mt. Carmel Missionary Baptist Church. “The
city talks about the economics, but yet money is found to put a
tremendously large DePaul center not very far from here, and yet we
still have this vacant field.”
Chicago public employees picketed downtown Tuesday, calling on Mayor Rahm Emanuel to settle a new union contract with AFSCME Council 31
that includes decent wages that keep up with inflation.
A new contract
must also include “common sense” rules meant to prevent bad
privatization deals and protect public services and workers, according
to the dozens of public employees who protested near City Hall.
union’s previous contract with the city was set to expire July 1, 2012,
but it was temporarily extended. Workers have been at the bargaining
table with the city bartering over a new contract for more than a year and a
“Any company should want to pay their employees fair
wages but the transparency with the privatization, it’s really a huge
issue, because what (the mayor) is basically trying to do is sell off
the city of Chicago,” said Nicole Herron, who’s worked in the city’s
finance department for 18 years. “If he does that, we lose a huge part
of the middle class and lower-class people who make up a bulk of the
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.
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.”
Housing activists are outraged that Chicago Housing
Authority (CHA) officials are looking to remove more than 47,000 people from its public
housing and voucher wait list as proposed in its Moving to Work
(MTW) Annual Plan for fiscal year 2014.
“I am stunned by CHA’s
decision to strip so many people permanently off the list and to deprive
them of a chance for affordable housing,” Mary Nelson, who is homeless
and currently on the wait list, said before CHA’s public hearing Wednesday evening regarding the draft plan.
The share of
people experiencing poverty in the Chicago region was split evenly
between the suburbs and the city as of 2011, a new study by the
Heartland Alliance’s Social IMPACT Research Center shows.
50-50 balance is a drastic change compared to 1990, when about 66
percent of the region’s poor people lived in the city, while 34 percent
lived in the suburbs.
By 2011, nearly 630,000 suburbanites were
living in poverty, which is a 95 percent increase from 1990, according
to the ”Poverty Matters” report. That increase far outpaced the overall 29
percent suburban population growth from 1990 to 2011. Meanwhile,
the number of Chicagoans living in poverty remained about the same
during that time period.
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.
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.”
The Chicago Public Schools (CPS) opened up its application process Monday for
new charter schools that will help alleviate neighborhood school
overcrowding and provide every student with “a world class education.”
call for new charters, slated to open in the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016
school years, comes after the Chicago Board of Education voted in May to close a record-breaking 50 neighborhood schools,
primarily in low-income and minority communities, due to the district’s
reported underutilization crisis. In June, 48 elementary schools closed
their doors for good.
On top of the recent round of closings,
schools have also been dealing with massive budget cuts this summer due
to the district’s new per-student budgeting system. More than 3,000 CPS employees have been let go this summer due to school closures, turnarounds and budgetary reasons thus far.
can CPS be opening up charter schools that then will attempt to siphon
off, and probably will siphon off, students from the public schools who
are concerned about the diminishing quality of their education,”
asked Pauline Lipman, professor of educational policy studies and
director of the Collaborative for Equity and Justice in Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago.