Watchdog: Follow the Money

HUD money puts 'luxury finishes' on houses while Chicago's hard-hit neighborhoods suffer

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Real Estate,Watchdog,Illinois,Chicago,Kelly Cohen,Follow the Money,Budgets and Deficits,Housing

Chicago has spent money fancying up homes in gentrifying areas instead of helping some of the city's worst-off neighborhoods, according to the Chicago Reporter.

Chicago began receiving millions in federal money in 2009 after the housing market crisis.

Over the past six years, it has pocketed $169 million through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program — of which $140 million has gone to rehabbing and demolishing homes.

Records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request show that of the 2,800 units the city of Chicago promised the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development it would rehab with that money, less than one-third were completed.

Money instead went to giving buildings “luxury finishes” while “distressed properties in some of the city’s hardest hit neighborhoods were left to languish,” the Reporter says.

Roseland is one part of Chicago in need of foreclosure relief, which ranks third for likely vacant residential properties. Yet less than three cents of every federal dollar spent through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program went to that part of the city, the Reporter revealed.

However, nearly one dollar out of every five went to rehab buildings in gentrifying neighborhoods like Logan Square, Humboldt Park and Albany Park.

Read the full article here.

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