Defender: Chicago Announces Pilot Program to Develop Vacant Homes

This is a program I can get behind:
On Sunday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced a new pilot program to acquire and rehabilitate vacant homes in Chicago neighborhoods that need investment and jobs. The program will create opportunities for local businesses while supporting affordable homeownership.

“This pilot program is a win-win-win. It creates employment opportunities for at-risk youth, supports community stability and turns vacant homes from community burdens into neighborhood strengths,” Emanuel said. “By working with local contractors and developers, the pilot initiative will help support community improvement and homeownership, while driving neighborhood economic development.”

Through the pilot program, the city is investing $2 million in a capital fund for neighborhood contractors, investors and developers to rehab vacant homes in designated communities. Support for the program will come from surplus funds initially designated for the property tax rebate program.

The program will work with community partners to facilitate acquisition of the properties, finance the renovations, and generate employment opportunities for at-risk youth to maintain the homes until they are rehabilitated and sold. The network of partners will ensure the program generates economic opportunities for local contractors, developers and investors. Partners will include the Emerson Collective and Chicago Community Loan Fund (CCLF).
Another idea I have is that we can bring some architecturally significant construction to areas with significant vacant lots. Of course what I hope doesn't happen is that the city decides what designs should be constructed. At the very least some work can still go to at-risk youths who will work on something that could prove to be groundbreaking. Another condition, a young hungry architect will get recognition. Of course this is only an idea an in recognition of Chicago's history of great architecture.


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