Federal agents carried out a search warrant Thursday at the Logan Square offices of Mark Diamond, a Chicago businessman accused of a reverse mortgage and home repair scheme that targeted elderly black homeowners on the city’s West and South Sides.
Almost 20 years ago, a wrecking ball leveled a 14-story high-rise at the Henry Horner Homes on the city’s Near West Side. What has happened since then is both amazing and disturbing. Horner, a public housing development, became Westhaven Park, a mixed-income community of market-rate renters, homeowners and former Horner residents. The transformation from Horner to Westhaven was a bold leap to create a better environment for public housing residents who had complained of everything from roaches to gangs to unlit stairwells. In many ways, life is better.
These are the faces of past and present residents of El Rescate Independent Living Program, a transitional-housing program based in Humboldt Park that focuses on homeless LGBTQ and HIV-positive Latino youths.
With the economy flagging and poverty rising, homeless youth are among the city’s most vulnerable residents. Transitional-housing facilities, such as Humboldt Park’s El Rescate, can be a lifeline for young adults who are separated from their families for a variety of reasons.
More than a quarter of Chicago households–more than 282,000–recently turned to the Chicago Housing Authority in their search for a better or more affordable home. The households are vying for an apartment in public housing or a housing voucher, either of which could be a step up from their current living situations. But the huge response to the four-week registration period for the agency’s wait lists also exposes a glaring need for quality, affordable housing in Chicago. The registration period, which ended Monday, is the first time CHA has opened its public housing wait list since 2010 and its voucher wait list since 2008. The wait lists, for the first time, used a single online application.
Antonio Gutierrez wasn’t planning to be a housing activist. In 2012, he graduated from the Illinois Institute of Technology with a degree in architecture, but his status as an undocumented immigrant prevented him from working. He started organizing with immigrant groups, volunteering for two years with the Immigrant Youth Justice League and Organized Communities Against Deportations. Earlier this year, Gutierrez had a choice to make when he received a work permit. He could either follow his original dream of becoming an architect or continue with the organizing work he loved.