West Side transition home helps recently released female inmates to re-enter society

Outside of the Grace House on the West Side of Chicago which houses recently released women from prison in order to help them re-build their lives.
Outside of the Grace House on the West Side of Chicago which houses recently released women from prison in order to help them re-build their lives.

By J’nelle Agee

Each year hundreds of women are released from the Illinois Department of Corrections system and are faced with the decision of whether they want to change their life or continue their personal downward spiral.

The Grace House, a transitional home on the West Side, has programs to help with self-growth and equip these women with life-skills to re-enter society.

The Grace House opened in 1994 under the umbrella of St. Leonard’s Ministries, an Episcopal organization that provides residential, case management and employment services for those recently released from prison. The ministry also has an interim housing facility for men. It provides residents of both houses with classes through the St. Leonard’s Alternative High School program, and pre-employment training through the Michael Barlow Educational Center.

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Forum explores future of Chicago public housing and design

By J’nelle Agee

Public housing has been a heated issue for Chicagoans for decades. Many complexes built as affordable housing after World War II have been torn down in recent years due to neglect and crime. The Place Lab arts incubator at the University of Chicago recently held a forum on public housing and design. Lee Bey, the former architecture critic at the Chicago Sun-Times moderated the panel, which included author, Audrey Petty, housing activist Roberta Feldman and journalist Ethan Michaeli. It was the first of a three-part series entitled Growing Pains.

Disability coalition members call for integrated and affordable housing options

Disability Rights Action Coalition for Housing members rally to create integrated and affordable housing for people with disabilities.
Disability Rights Action Coalition for Housing members rally to create integrated and affordable housing for people with disabilities.

By J’nelle Agee

Confined to a wheelchair from a congenital physical disability since birth, Adam Ballard has used a power wheelchair for most of his life. He currently lives in a home outside Chicago with his in-laws who enlarged a bathroom to make it accessible for him and added a ramp to the exterior so he could come and go.

But Ballard would like to live more independently. He is just one of thousands of Chicagoans who are unable to live in a normal community because of limited affordable and accessible housing options. To be truly integrated in their communities, people with disabilities need housing options with amenities such as elevators, ramps and larger doorways. Continue reading “Disability coalition members call for integrated and affordable housing options”

Medix Staffing Solutions moves corporate headquarters to downtown Chicago

Mayor Emanuel greets employees of Medix Staffing Solutions Inc.
Mayor Emanuel greets employees of Medix Staffing Solutions Inc. and discusses means of transportation for their new commute.

By J’nelle Agee

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has vowed to bring more corporate headquarters to Chicago and he continues to make good on his promise. Thursday he announced that Medix Staffing Solutions Inc. would be relocating its headquarters from Lombard to Chicago, bringing 150 new jobs to downtown Chicago.

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Judy Baar Topinka wins re-election for state comptroller

Judy Baar Topinka (R-Springfield) celebrates re-election victory of Illinois State Comptroller with supporters and staff.
Judy Baar Topinka (R-Springfield) celebrates re-election victory of Illinois State Comptroller with supporters and staff.

By J’nelle Agee

The Illinois state comptroller’s office will remain in the control of  Republicans. Judy Baar Topinka kept the position of state comptroller with late results at 49.9 percent for her and 43.3 percent for Democrat Lt. Gov. Shelia Simon .

“Having both of us just being out there subject to public scrutiny, anybody who goes out in the area deserves a lot of credit. Sheila did a great job and we need to give credit to her, to all of the staff and everybody who worked hard on this campaign,”  Topinka said in her victory speech.

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New community aims to keep siblings together in foster homes on Chicago’s West Side

Tim McCormick, CEO of SOS Children's Villages Illinois address the crowd in front of one of the newly constructed homes in the Roosevelt Square Village in Chicago's West Side.
Tim McCormick, CEO of SOS Children’s Villages Illinois address the crowd in front of one of the newly constructed homes in the Roosevelt Square Village on Chicago’s West Side.

By J’nelle Agee

Many neglected and abused children entering foster care end up being separated from their siblings, sometimes for years, sometimes permanently. An international nonprofit is trying to reduce that secondary strain for children in Chicago.

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CHA is set to re-open its affordable housing waitlist after six years

By J’nelle Agee

Drexel Tower Apartments is one of CHA's affordable housing properties and is located in Kenwood.
Drexel Tower Apartments is one of CHA’s affordable housing properties and is located in Kenwood.

The Chicago Housing Authority’s affordable housing waitlist is set to re-open on Oct. 27, after being closed for six years. This time, more low-income housing options are available. The application period will close on Nov. 24.

In 2008, thousands of perspective candidates applied for the CHA Housing Choice Voucher program (Section 8) through the waitlist lottery, which was open for four weeks. The voucher program was intended to be the city’s primary housing assistance program.

This time, the CHA will be accepting 40,000 applicants who will be added to the previously established waitlist. The candidates from the waitlist will then be randomly selected through a computerized lottery.

For this upcoming launch, the CHA will offer three voucher programs for interested applicants. They include:

  • Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8)
  • Property Rental Assistance program
  • Family Public Housing program

Continue reading “CHA is set to re-open its affordable housing waitlist after six years”

U. of C. opens new innovation hub for entrepreneurs and start-ups

Mayor Rahm Emanuel joins University of Chicago President Robert Zimmer for the grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony of the Chicago Innovation Exchange.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel joins University of Chicago President Robert Zimmer for the grand opening of the Chicago Innovation Exchange on 53rd Street in Hyde Park.

By J’nelle Agee

Chicago has long wanted to be known as a hub for digital startups and high-tech companies. That dream has started to materialize in recent years with the success of homegrown companies such as Groupon and GrubHub. But most of the tech activity in the Windy City has remained north of the Loop.

The South Side struck back Thursday as the University of Chicago christened a business incubator known as the Chicago Innovation Exchange.

Continue reading “U. of C. opens new innovation hub for entrepreneurs and start-ups”