aw this bank advertisement plastered against a rare vacant building located along the Division Street Commercial Retail Corridor in one of Chicago’s hottest neighborhoods: Wicker Park. In 2017, the Endeleo Institute is focusing its attention on rebuilding the Washington Heights Commercial Corridor by first addressing the area’s housing stock. As such, we are extremely excited about our recent partnership with the Cook County Land Bank.
Because while distributing Farmers Market literature this summer, we identified several vacant properties on solid neighborhood blocks and according to 2014 data from Chicago-based Woodstock Institute, Washington Heights was near the top in foreclosure auctions in 2014. Woodstock is a leading nonprofit research and policy organization in the areas of fair lending, wealth creation and financial systems reform. In its report it explains that foreclusre auctions signal the completion of the foreclosure process, at which point, properties officially become lender-owned or real estate owned (REO).
The report goes on to say completed foreclosures in Washington Heights during 2011-2012 were up a whopping 104.8%! What we saw this past summer is the manifestation of those numbers and like the report suggested, creative solutions such as the Cook County Land Bank are sorely needed to reverse the concentration of foreclosure activity in low-wealth communities of color, for they pose serious barriers to recovery in areas that badly need help.
Most promising is the fact that the Land Bank identifies Washington Heights as one of its top promising areas for housing growth recovery and with that in mind, Endeleo is working closely with Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer to strategically restore vacant properties back to productive use and build equity and wealth in the neighborhood. So if you are remotely interested, we will simultaneously be building a necessary potential pool of qualified applicants to occupy these viable single family properties. Please call our office at 773-966-1508 to add your name. To revitalize our commercial corridor, we need to first restore our housing stock. In 2017, we will Build Ours.