African American families in Chicago and nationwide have been hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis, particularly with mortgage lenders exploiting a long history of discrimination in lending and housing. But what happens when they challenge the banks that have evicted millions of families and destroyed their life savings and economic security?
That’s the subject of a new book, “A Dream Foreclosed: Black American and the Fight for a Place to Call Home,” which looks at the issue through the experiences of four families. (Essence has published an excerpt featuring the story of Chicagoan Martha Biggs, now an activist with the Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign.)
Author Laura Gottesdiener will discuss the book, joined by Martha Biggs and Ebonee Stevenson of CAEC and Jim Harbin from the Resident Association of Greater Englewood, at the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture at the University of Chicago, 5733 S. University, Wednesday, October 30 at 6 p.m.
Related: Englewood left out of city’s foreclosure rehab program (2011).
Beautification of a gateway lot and a walking tour of historic and architecturally significant sites on Saturday will launch the Invest in Englewood campaign of the new Greater Englewood Community Development Corporation.
From 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, June 1, Englewood residents will install landscaping at the northwest corner of 63rd and Yale, an entryway to the community from the Dan Ryan Expressway. Neighborhood Housing Services is partnering with GECDC on the project.
At 10 a.m. a guided tour will take off from 63rd and Yale — including a section of old mansions — to “show another dimension of what Greater Engelwood has to offer the city,” said Eric McLoyd, executive director of the group.
Invest in Englewood aims at marshalling community resources — including the efforts of scores of community organizations — to “rebrand, rebuild, and revitalize the community” in a resident-led project, said Sonya Marie Harper, an organizer with Residents Association of Greater Englewood.
GECDC was founded in 2011 after the economic development work group of RAGE realized a community development corporation was needed to addess the “stalled economic development” in Englewood and West Englewood, she said.
The first step is to broaden the perception of the community on the part of residents as well as outsiders, she said. While most press coverage focuses on violence — and the community has among the highest rates of unemployment, vacant properties, and population loss in the city — there is also a wide range of positive efforts by community residents, including 500 local businesses.
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Bronzeville residents turned out in impressive numbers for last Thursday’s public forum of the Mayor’s Task Force on TIF Reform, which was held at the Bronzeville Chicago Military Academy.
Other communities were represented, but more forums in additional communities would certainly offer the task force greater breadth of public input. But last week’s was the only hearing that is planned.
Bronzeville is one of the city’s most heavily TIFed communities, with thirteen TIF districts covering 80 percent of the area, many created to finance CHA redevelopments – with more in the works had Mayor Daley won the 2016 Olympic games, according to Housing Bronzeville.
Sheila Carter testified on behalf of the group that TIFs have “failed local taxpayers” in their lack of transparency and accountability. It’s been “virtuallly impossible for local residents to understand how TIF monies were being raised and spent in our area,” she said, suggesting “this confusion and lack of documentation was intentional.”
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