Target: Community Activist Willie “J.R.” Fleming
Goal: Support the Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign’s Housing of the Homeless
There are just over 100,000 homeless people in the city of Chicago, Illinois. Of these, just over half are families in desperate need of housing for their children. A recently initiated “Anti-Eviction Campaign” run by Willie “J.R.” Fleming aims to change this by freeing up abandoned properties in Chicago and moving homeless families into them free of charge. This gives homeless families the shelter they so desperately need, while benefiting the people who live in the neighborhoods where the abandoned houses were found. In the past year over 40 families have been moved into homes, and Fleming expects that number to increase as more people become aware of the project.
An important aspect of the Campaign is seeking approval from the community before renovating an abandoned house. Fortunately, most homeowners have been overwhelmingly in favor of the Campaign’s actions. A recent report by the Regional Home Ownership Preservation Initiative reports that Chicago’s nearly 5000 known abandoned homes cost the city approximately $36,000. The Campaign allows communities to recoup some of that cost by stabilizing the often-plummeting real-estate prices in the area. At very least, it prevents the abandoned homes from deteriorating further, or becoming havens for crime.
Perhaps surprisingly, many Chicago banks are also in favor of Fleming’ s activism–for many banks, the cost and tax burden of registering foreclosures, particularly abandoned ones, far outweighs any possible profit that might be turned on the home. In this way, Fleming’s activism is not just helping the homeless, but Chicago’s ailing economy as a whole.
Dear Willie Fleming,
Thank you for your recent work with housing the homeless of Chicago in renovated abandoned houses. Your steps in reaching out to all the families you have and will help is critical for the welfare of both these individuals and the community as a whole. Giving Chicago’s homeless citizens a permanent address at no cost allows them a huge number of opportunities, as well as helping to stabilize the value of the surrounding communities.
Your solution to Chicago’s homelessness problem is incredibly innovative, and a welcome step in increasing the quality of life for homeless and poor families in Chicago. We would like to thank you for all your hard work and effort making this dream for many homeless families a reality.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Bill Jacobus via Wikimedia Commons