Wednesday, October 22, 2008

600 vacant units at Lathrop Homes. Why?

Residents of the Lathrop Homes along with Logan Square community leaders will hold a rally Thursday afternoon to ask the Chicago Housing Authority why 600 units of the 900-unit Lathrop Homes development have been allowed to remain vacant when thousands of Chicago families need good affordable housing.

It's a good question to ask. The low-rise development, at Diversey and the Chicago River on the eastern edge of Logan Square, is the city’s most diverse public housing community. It has housed a blend of African-American, Latino and white families – both low-income and working class – for nearly 50 years. And in a neighborhood with rising rents and condo conversions due to gentrification, it's a potentially valuable resource for families that need an affordable place to live.

That's why the Lathrop Leadership Team, Lathrop Local Advisory Council and Logan Square Neighborhood Association will call on the CHA to put 300 of the development’s 600 vacant units back into service by 2010.

“Keeping these units empty, in the midst of a housing crisis, is a terrible waste,” says Cynthia Scott, a member of the Lathrop Leadership Team. “Leasing 300 units would help families avoid homelessness and reduce the crime and maintenance problems that come with vacancies.”

At 4 p.m., residents and community leaders will march through Lathrop Homes, starting at the corner of Clybourn, Wellington (3000 N) & Leavitt (2200 W). At 5 p.m. (just in time for the local TV news), participants will gather outside one of the vacant homes on Leavitt just north of Diversey Parkway.

When the CHA began its Plan for Transformation in 1999, it put Lathrop on the back burner, listing its future as “to be determined.” Nine years later, there is still no plan to revitalize the development. But since 1999, the CHA has barred Lathrop’s manager from leasing units after families move out. As a result, the number of vacancies has soared to more than 600.

Thanks to Logan Square Neighborhood Association's Tami Love for passing on this information. A resident vision for Lathrop is here. For more information, contact Tami Love, 773-549-2525, x 1 or John McDermott, 773-384-4370 x38 or 773-617-3949 (cell).


Knep-Star said...

I would love to see this parcel be finally redeveloped. It's beautiful right on the river, centrally located, and big enough to have a huge mixed-use community including affordable housing and retail.

It's better to one-by-one close the doors to these apartments when people leave instead of removing/displacing ALL 900 of them when the city decides to put out an RFP, right?!

Anonymous said...

I gotta agree, kicking 900 people out for redevelopment would be seen as worse than slowly dwindling the population.

The need to knock it down and put some shopping along the river area, it is so nice there to be vacant. The shopping would cover the costs to allow the units above to be low income.

Patrick Barry said...

I think you both are missing the point, which is that in today's housing market, the highest and best use for that area is to continue to provide affordable housing for poor and working-class families, and to put those 600 empty units back to use.

That's what the neighborhood and the North Side need – more reasonably priced rental housing – not another development for higher-income residents.

But you are correct, it is an excellent location close to the river, transit and job centers.

Anonymous said...

I heard from a city employee that the utilities components for the Lathrop homes are too expensive to replace, leaving the area up for repurposing after all the tenants have left. Maybe it's just a rumor but it makes sense with the current situation. What if the old water system blew with 900 units filled? This would be a disaster. Kicking them out all at once doesn't seem smart. It's a conundrum, to say the least.

Patrick Barry said...

There's a good report about the rally on LSNA's web site, including a slideshow and this quote: “There’s no need for more condos here,” said Juanita Stevenson, president of the Lathrop Homes Local Advisory Council. “There’s only greed for more condos here.”

Anonymous said...


Northside does not need crimes. Lathrop surrounding is a mess, I cannot even walk around it without being harrassed.

The highest and best use is to knock down these functional obsolete buildings and explore all the potentials this prime location could offer.

I am excited to know CHA has plan to take them out, it will be the right move for the money!

liz said...

Someone please tell me why this "excellent location close to transit and job centers" shouldn't be used for low income people. They don't deserve to have convenient places to live? We should kick them somewhere on the outskirts of town because someone else would rather live in a luxury condo on that spot? Not to mention that these buildings are historic and could be made beautiful (and the area more safe) with one quarter of the money that it would take to raze them and build something else.

Anonymous said...

These buildings need to come down. I live directly across the street. It's always the same old residents too. No one wants to go out and get jobs. They just wait for their check to go to the Clybourn market and buy more booze. It's just ridiculous!!! Always depending on the government to bail them out. Real life consists of working and becoming a productive member of society. Pay some taxes like everybody else. So tired of these lazy people!!
I say, blow the buildings up and build townhomes/condos. At least the city can take advantage of more tax revenue. Sounds more logical than giving handouts to those who just expect it.

eddie said...

Knock them down now!!!!! This country has been destroyed by the entitlement mentality. Why are poor people entitled to this superb location? Because they are poor? I am sorry, but the last I heard, this country was built on work, production, value. It WAS NOT built on giving people a handout. I live right by these homes and in my prayers, I want these buildings to be knocked down and rebuilt (job production) including luxury homes, condos, retail, etc. I do not want more garbage. Let's be honest, this area is beautiful. On one side of Damen you have heaven, and the other you have hell. I want my property to INCREASE in value, not to remain stagnant or even plummet because some idiot thinks it's the "right" thing to do to keep them here. I bought my property speculating they will be knocked down. Move them out, close down the garbage liquor store and watch prices increase.

Anonymous said...

whose the dumb asses who bought these expensive condos right by the projects..and by the way they were there long before all of the out of towner yuppies who seem to occupy this area over the past decade or if you bought near the projects shut your mouth and live by the projects..toughen up and avoid the really bad areas like everyone south of the river knows how to do..or stay in iowa or wisconsin or whatever suburb you're from

Anonymous said...

These people who bought condos here thinking things would change are stupid these buildings been here since way before yall was born sell ur condos and go back to the suburbs or city you came from