CHICAGO — As Governor JB Pritzker’s COVID-19 pandemic moratorium on evictions expired this week, residents and activists alike grew concerned over access to affordable housing in Chicago.
Religious and community leaders teamed up with non-profits to make a dent in the problem in the city’s West Garfield Park neighborhood.
The West Garfield Park community joined politicians and pastors in a ceremonial but significant groundbreaking for an affordable housing complex at what is now an empty lot on West Washington Boulevard.
“As the West Side goes, so does the city of Chicago,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said.
Alderman Jason Ervin said the neighborhood has long struggled with crime and disinvestment, even as other West Side communities have seen marginal progress.
Bishop Designate David Todd Whittley, the Senior Pastor of the Corinthian Temple Church of God in Christ has been on a mission to revitalize the neighborhood through his ‘United for Better Living’ non-profit organization.
Whittley sees this project as key to bringing back families and vibrancy.
The plan calls for a four-story building with 43 apartments, with rents being based on what the average unit costs in the neighborhood.
Funding for the $18 million project comes from the Chicago Department of Housing and from the National Equity Fund, a non-profit that helps build affordable housing developments around the country using federal low-income housing tax credits.
On Tuesday, US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Marcia Fudge visited Chicago to promote President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan, which includes billions of dollars for affordable housing and economic development.
Lightfoot said the affordable apartments are part of what she hopes is a larger transformation of the West Side.
A recent estimate by the Chicago Department of Housing shows Chicago has 120,000 fewer affordable units than it needs.