Block Club Chicago | Thousands Of Chicagoans Could Face Evictions Next Month. This Group Is Going Door To Door To Keep People In Their Homes
The Chicago Flats Initiative is connecting renters and homeowners to eviction- and foreclosure-prevention programs: “We don't want to see what happened in the 2008 housing crisis repeated.”
ALBANY PARK — As many as 21,000 Chicagoans could be hit with eviction notices after Illinois’ eviction moratorium expires July 24, according to housing organizers.
Now, a citywide coalition has launched the Chicago Flats Initiative, a door-to-door outreach program connecting two-, three- and four-flat owners and renters to assistance programs that can keep them in their homes.
The effort is coming from community groups from across Chicago that long have organized around affordable housing.
Organizers are passing out flyers detailing the Illinois Housing Department Authority’s emergency rental assistance program, which can provide eligible people up to 12 months of unpaid rent and to three months of future rent, with a maximum grant of $25,000.
The group also is telling neighbors about Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago programs that include:
- Foreclosure prevention resources to keep homeowners of two- to four-flats in their homes.
- HUD-certified financial counseling services and homebuyer education classes.
- Competitive mortgages.
- Home purchase assistance up to $20,000 and home improvement grants of up to $25,000.
- Health and safety inspections.
- Construction management services.
Evictions and foreclosures are expected to hit low- and moderate-income families in Chicago’s Black and Latino neighborhoods the hardest, according to the Lawyers Committee for Better Housing.
In helping neighbors stabilize their housing, the Chicago Flats Initiative is supporting its larger goal of preserving the city’s two-, three- and four-flat buildings. Those buildings make up 26 percent of Chicago’s housing stock overall and 35 percent of all rental housing, according to a DePaul University study.
“We don’t want to see what happened in the 2008 housing crisis repeated,” said Diane Limas, vice president of the board for Communities United, one of the groups going door to door. “The foreclosures during that crisis led to the displacement of Black and immigrant families from the city and in gentrifying areas. We didn’t want to see that happen again.”
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