Monday, April 17, 2017

Chicago Reader: South Shore is Chicago’s eviction capital

The Chicago Neighborhoods

Newsalert shared a tweet from Chicago Reader with the heading: "Why Chicago's South Shore went from middle class neighborhood to the city's eviction capital." 

The tweet which will be shared at the end of this post is a link to an article discussing the high number of evictions in South Shore. Now I just want to share the context of Newsalert's heading:
South Shore's high concentration of sprawling, multiunit apartment buildings owned by large property companies and its high poverty rates appear to explain the neighborhood's dubious distinction. The area's housing stock consists mostly of multifamily apartment buildings, and nearly 80 percent of the occupied housing units are rentals—20 percent more than the proportion of renter-occupied housing units in the city as a whole. And according to the 2014 American Community Survey, half of South Shore households live on less than $25,000 per year.

Development booms at the end of the 19th century and in the 1920s combined with early 20th century white flight to shape South Shore's built environment. As more African-Americans settled in other parts of the south side, middle-class whites flocked to the lakefront. This led to the construction of stately apartment buildings in the neighborhood, especially on South Shore Drive, which runs along the water, and in Jackson Park Highlands, the area between the southern edge of Jackson Park and 71st Street.

Until the 1960s, South Shore was a middle-class neighborhood and more than 90 percent white, but by the 1980s the racial balance had completely reversed: South Shore became 96 percent black, though it remained middle-class. In recent years, however, the median family income in the neighborhood has steadily declined.

These economic realities have presented challenges for South Shore residents as rent prices in the area have climbed. According to a recent report by the DePaul Institute for Housing Studies, South Shore has one of the largest gaps between the supply and demand of affordable housing in the city. And, according to data analyzed by Chicago magazine, though the median rent price in the neighborhood is below $1,250 per month, some 64 percent of South Shore's 22,700 households are rent burdened, or paying more than 30 percent of their monthly income for rent. Even though more than 5,000 South Shore households have Section 8 vouchers, which provide a federally funded housing subsidy, the need for rental assistance doesn't come close to being met.
I will do one better here a reply to that tweet. Perhaps one answer to who - that is the leasing companies - are filing these eviction orders. The article itself is worth reading.

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