Residents of controversial Logan Square building fight eviction
Date07/23/2014ByMegan Crepeau, Redeye
Harold Shirley never had seen a bed bug before moving to the Milshire Hotel three years ago. Now his arms are covered in bites, and he has to take sleeping pills at night because the bugs wake him up. The building is thoroughly infested, and he said he doesn't have the money to move.
Date07/23/2014ByMary Ellen Podmolik, Chicago Tribune
A Chicago developer that has been among the most active firms behind the conversion of dilapidated, very-low-income housing into market-rate apartments is teaming with the city to offer more than four dozen subsidized units to Chicagoans who make no more than $15,200 a year.
UPTOWN — Flats Chicago — a booming real estate company that has been criticized for displacing poor tenants — has entered into a $4.3 million partnership with the city to provide dozens of affordable housing units in its buildings in Uptown and Edgewater.
The company's agreement with the city’s Low-Income Housing Trust Fund will subsidize 58 units of affordable housing for low-income residents in four Flats buildings, city officials confirmed Tuesday.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office says a task force has been created in an effort to increase the number of affordable housing units in the city.
In a news release, the mayor’s office says the task force will be made up of community leaders, several members of the City Council, developers and others. The task force is asked to make recommendations for changes in the city’s Affordable Requirements Ordinance that will lead to the addition of 1,000 affordable units over the next five years.
Citigroup agreed to pay $7 billion to settle a federal investigation into its handling of risky subprime mortgages, admitting to a pattern of deception that Attorney General Eric Holder said "shattered lives" and contributed to the worst financial crisis in decades.
Date07/17/2014ByMary Ellen Podmolik, Chicago Tribune
Foreclosure activity in some parts of the nation has dropped down to levels not seen since before the housing crisis, but that isn’t the case in the Chicago area.
In Cook County, foreclosure cases were initiated against 1,282 homes in June, higher than a month earlier or in June 2013, according to data compiled by RealtyTrac. An additional 1,127 homes were repossessed by lenders and became bank-owned last month. That’s higher than the 1,012 repossessions in May or the 869 in June of last year.
In many of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas, buying a home again looks like a risky investment, and in places like Boston, Miami and Washington prices have risen enough that buying is no longer the bargain it seemed to be a few years ago. That perhaps explains why the American public is now divided on whether homeownership is a good long-term investment, and a majority now see homeownership as less appealing than it once was.
Should housing policy be more balanced, supporting rental housing and homeownership on a more equal footing?
Date07/13/2014ByMary Ellen Podmolik, Chicago Tribune
About a third of homeowners in the Chicago area and just more than half of renters are cost-burdened, meaning they spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing.
What's more, 14 percent of local homeowners and 30 percent of renters are severely cost-burdened, spending more than half of their income on housing. The median monthly housing cost for a renter in the Chicago area is $940. It's $1,489 for a homeowner.
The City of Chicago continues to work on an ordinance to address the phenomenon of fast-disappearing single-room and residential hotels. In recent years, many of these traditionally affordable housing options, particularly along the lakefront on the city’s North Side, have been bought and converted into high-end rentals. Hundreds of low-income tenants have been displaced, and with the help of community organizers, have turned the attention of city policy makers to the issue.
Tenants of the Milshire Hotel have filed a legal complaint against the hotel’s owner over a string of allegations, from faulty building equipment to an ongoing rat and bedbug infestation.
The complaint is one more step by organizers and tenants, who have created a group called the Milshire Tenants Union, to slow down or stop relocation of up to 70 transient residents of the hotel, some of whom suffer from mental illnesses or alcohol or drug abuse.
Denying essential services such as heat, water, or electricity is wrong and may pose serious health and safety risks.
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LCBH provides free, comprehensive legal representation so that renters have a trusted advocate in court. Combined with education, outreach, supportive services and policy initiatives, our programs holistically address both the short-term housing crisis and underlying causes, so that more families can move from a path leading to homelessness to one of safe and stable housing.