Rep. Monique Davis has fought since 2009 to forestall being evicted from a Chicago Board of Education building she has used rent-free as her legislative office for the past 11 years. But when the shoe is on the other foot, the Chicago Democrat takes a dim view of tenants she says “game the system” to thwart landlords — such as her — in eviction court. At Davis’ urging, an Illinois House committee on Wednesday approved a measure she sponsored to make it easier for Cook County landlords to evict problem tenants.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency reached a settlement with the City of Chicago over the city’s vacant property ordinances, ending a 2½ year legal battle. The FHFA, as conservator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, sued the city on December 12, 2011, after the city amended its vacant and abandoned building ordinances to require mortgagees to register, secure and maintain foreclosed properties.
Little remains of Chicago's Cabrini-Green, a mid-century public housing complex once home to as many as 15,000 people. The poorly maintained high rises, rife with gang violence, were eventually demolished (the final one came down in 2011). Today, only low-rise units and dozens of acres of vacant land remain. The Chicago Housing Authority hopes to see it all redeveloped soon. Last year, the CHA launched its "Plan Forward: Communities That Work," which aims to replace or rehab 25,000 subsidized housing units in the city by 2015, a goal originally set for 2010.
The Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law spent two years investigating discrimination in the subsidized housing market and found rampant racial discrimination.
Subsidized housing vouchers, commonly referred to as Section 8, allow families to rent in the private market. A new report outlines the discrimination.
To assess fair housing practices, trained investigators posing as potential tenants inquire about availability, terms and conditions to assess compliance. White and black testers, with comparable backgrounds, tried to rent from landlords.
The private-equity firm Blackstone could be your next landlord.
Date03/31/2014ByRebecca Burns, Michael Donley, & Carmilla Manzanet, In These Times
In a 2011 report, Morgan Stanley analysts proclaimed that America was experiencing a transition from an ownership society to a “rentership society.” “The combination of falling home prices, limited mortgage credit, continued liquidations and better rental options is fundamentally changing the way Americans live,” says the report, concluding, “We believe this change is only beginning.” For Wall Street firms, the Morgan Stanley report appears to have become a self-fulfilling prophecy: Seeing a profitable opening in the wake of the foreclosure crisis, investment groups have worked diligently t
Date03/27/2014ByMary Ellen Podmolik, Chicago Tribune
The Treasury Department will allow Illinois to use up to $30 million of federal hardest-hit funds to demolish vacant, blighted properties in communities most affected by the foreclosure crisis. Municipalities will have to partner with non-profit groups in order to apply for the Blight Reduction Program funds, which will be administered by the Illinois Housing Development Authority.
Date03/24/2014ByNational Low Income Housing Coaltion
Out of Reach 2014 reveals roots of housing instability and homelessness, and national need for more affordable housing
According to Out of Reach 2014, a report released today by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, an individual needs to earn $18.92 an hour to afford a two-bedroom rental until at Fair Market Rent. This figure is referred to as the “Housing Wage.” Today’s national average Housing Wage is more than two-and-a-half times the federal minimum wage, and 52% higher than it was in 2000.
Date03/21/2014ByAmy Goodman & Juan González, Democracy Now
A new internal report says the Justice Department massively overstated its successes in targeting mortgage fraud while in fact ranking it as a low priority for investigation. The Justice Department’s inspector general says despite playing a central role in the nation’s financial crisis, mortgage fraud was deemed either a low priority or not a priority at all. This comes as a recently revealed internal Wells Fargo document appears to guide lawyers step by step on how to fabricate missing documents to foreclose on homeowners.
The Near-North Side neighborhood that was once the site of Cabrini-Green, one of Chicago’s most notorious public housing complexes is nearly unrecognizable from what it was 10 years ago. Now lined with rows of luxury condominiums and new retailers like Starbucks and Target, the neighborhood appears to have gotten a much-needed facelift. This is a result of the city’s public housing revitalization project called the Plan for Transformation, which has slowly been implemented over the past decade.
The new legislative session is in full swing. Shriver Center advocates hope to pass new laws that will improve the lives of low- and middle-income people and expand access to opportunity and mobility for all Illinoisans. We will also be playing defense to ensure that laws that stigmatize and punish low- and middle-income Illinoisans don’t make it past committee floors. Our Illinois agenda informs our overall work to advance justice and opportunity for people living in poverty.
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.