Banks need to finance affordable housing construction in south and west Chicago

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The issue of where Chicago banks fail to lend in Chicago was highlighted in good coverage made clear by Linda Lutton and others at WBEZ this past summer, with the slogan “For every dollar that banks in Chicago’s white districts give , they only invested 12 cents in the black areas of the city and 13 cents in Latino areas. “

In the discussion since this report about what your banks could do, you have come up with many ideas: helping people get more mortgages, helping home buyers, and a bank proposal to bring a “bank bus” to a community where there is no local branch bank.

Thanks for the gestures, but it’s a shame you haven’t been there yet. These “solutions” overlook a large, gaping hole in the banking logic: There is a lack of decent products – that is, affordable houses – for the people in our communities. We simply do not have a decent, quality housing large enough to help large numbers of individuals and families take advantage of the “loan products” you offer. For that we need roofs.

United Power for Action & Justice and its religious and civil member institutions in Chicago are committed to rebuilding or reclaiming at least 1,000 homes on the West Side and 1,000 homes on the South Side of Chicago. Affordable and accessible homes for African American, Latino, young and working class people and others who have been excluded from the Chicago real estate market.

We need homes – not just rental apartments – that can help families and individuals build wealth and equity through home ownership. We need homes that are being built on a scale that will spark a deep renewal in our neighborhoods that have waited for generations to recapture their communities for themselves – not gentrifiers, pinball machines, or speculators.

How could your banks help? Now? Today? 2021? Our proposal is to pool enough money first to create a zero percent recourse revolving loan fund to finance the construction or reclamation of new, decent and affordable homes to the extent necessary to create a sustainable community -controlled revitalization .

A revolving fund of just $ 25 million of the “$ 52 billion with aB” your banks promised last year would allow us to build the first this year (yes, 2021) To start and continue to build 250 homes in North Lawndale or reclaim 250 homes per year in the four west and south side parishes we are targeting. An additional $ 10 million could provide interest-free secondary mortgages with reasonable liens to lower the cost of buying these homes, especially for first time home owners.

And we will do this in neighborhoods where indigenous leaders and their institutions have already demonstrated their commitment to organizing and striving for long-term improvements in jobs, education, health care, retail and public safety. But first we need these roofs.

We at United Power for Action & Justice and the Mayor and Housing Commissioner of the City of Chicago are ready to build or reclaim these homes. Are you, the six CEOs of the banks whose promises are listed above, ready to make your corporate rhetoric come true in Chicago? We come to ask. Meet with us or send in your PR to explain that a $ 25 million revolving fund in zero percent home loans is just too much for your bank to help us our Recapturing communities?

From the left: Rochelle Foster, North Lavndale Homeowners Association; Kevin Sutton, North Lawndale Community Coordinating Council; and Amy Totsch, Principal organizer at United Power for Action & Justice.

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