In the News

News from around the web on issues affecting renters.

Uptown Losing Its Diversity As Minorities Leave In Droves

Uptown Losing Its Diversity As Minorities Leave In Droves: DNA Info

At a community meeting to discuss plans for a massive new development on Broadway last week, a neighborhood activist wondered if the well-known "Asia on Argyle" sign advertising the neighborhood's diversity could soon have to change.

"If the apartment building is built, I would bet my life that in a few years, you'll have to take down the Asian part of Asia on Argyle," said Liz Thomson, 42, a Vietnamese American who left the area for Rogers Park when rents started to climb.

The CHA’s waiting game: A Sun-Times/BGA special Watchdogs report

The CHA’s waiting game: A Sun-Times/BGA special Watchdogs report

It’s been 18 months since the Chicago Housing Authority closed its wait list for coveted housing choice vouchers, which pay all or part of the rent for poor people to live in homes leased by private landlords.

But since then, the agency has added 1,035 households to the list — and handed them vouchers — ahead of about 45,000 households already on the list, many of who have been waiting several years, according to CHA records.

All but eight of the 1,035 got their vouchers in less than a year. Four in 10 got them in a week or less.

The Gentrification of Chicago’s Public Housing

Chicago is one of many cities that has a notorious past with public housing. When most people hear those words “public housing”, media-driven images of poverty-stricken, crime-ridden Cabrini Green and Robert Taylor homes come to mind. While we have taken down those “projects” and have installed some new public housing buildings, we have a long way to go to make up for all the units that were torn down. Progress is slow. As of 2015, 100,000 people are on the CHA’s housing wait list.

The women who lead legal aid

The women who lead legal aid: Chicago Lawyer Magazine

When she was a partner at Jenner & Block, Diana White could have made a Top Women Lawyers in Chicago list. She had all the necessary qualities: law review at University of Chicago Law School, clerking for the chief judge of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and a portfolio of significant cases. But Diana left Jenner in 1997 to become the deputy director for special projects and teams at LAF, formerly the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago, and she became LAF’s executive director in 2007.

Marchers take to the 606 trail to protest gentrification

Marchers take to the 606 trail to protest gentrification: Chicago Tribune

Dozens of people marched Tuesday along The 606 trail to draw attention to families and longtime residents feeling squeezed out of their homes because of increasing property taxes and rising rents in Logan Square.

Logan Square residents like Jennifer Velazquez are stressed over whether they’ll be able to stay as gentrification spreads in the neighborhood.

The CHA's 'supervoucher' program: a desegregation strategy that never was

The CHA's 'supervoucher' program: a desegregation strategy that never was: Chicago Reader

On the morning of July 8, 2015, Julian Castro, the U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, stood before a group of reporters and television cameras on Chicago's south side. Flanked by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Housing Authority's acting CEO, Eugene Jones, Castro was in town to make an important announcement—a mea culpa of sorts on behalf of the American government. Nearly 50 years after the passage of the Fair Housing Act, the nation had failed to reverse decades of segregation.

New report by Chicago Urban League highlights housing segregation: The Examiner

One of the the first impressions that visitors and tourists often remark about Chicago is its racial segregation, an insight into a reality that has been sustained, and supported over many decades, despite some pockets of relief. Reluctantly acknowledged by some, the reality has had an effect on the social fabric of the city and has resulted in limiting the economic and employment opportunities for African Americans.

Study Highlights Energy Burden for Households and How Energy Efficiency Can Help

A new study out today confirms that low-income, households of color, multifamily and renting households spend a much larger percentage of their income on energy bills than the average family, providing new evidence of the urgent need to expand energy efficiency programs to vulnerable communities.

Can Neighborhoods Be Revitalized Without Gentrifying Them?

Can Neighborhoods Be Revitalized Without Gentrifying Them?: The Nation

Last year, the death of Freddie Gray in police custody placed his neighborhood in a tragic spotlight, highlighting an all-too common urban misery: epidemic poverty, blighted lots, and shattered homes. Gray’s Baltimore has become notorious as the site of failed "urban renewal" projects, rife with liberal talking points but showing precious little progress in alleviating poverty and joblessness. There’s now a plan to generate change from the inside out, creating community housing as a source of collective healing.

When the Poor Move, Do They Move Up?

When the Poor Move, Do They Move Up?: American Prospect

When Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in April of 1968, the bill that would become the federal Fair Housing Act was at risk of stalling in Congress. King's assassination, and the nationwide civil disturbances that ensued, helped the Act sail through the legislative process. Lyndon Johnson signed the bill into law just two weeks later; today, in recognition of these transformative events, April has been designated National Fair Housing Month.