Antonio Gutierrez, an organizer with the community group Centro Autonomo in Albany Park, says scores of low-income Albany Park residents have been pushed out in recent years. Just like Chavez, they’ve been unable to keep up with the rising rents and property values in some areas.
“I would say about 40 percent of them, they ended up having to leave Albany Park and having to move outside the city to suburbs,” said Gutierrez.
Between 2011 and 2013, the median home price in Albany Park rose almost 40 percent. Gutierrez says after the recession, speculators flocked back to the neighborhood, buying foreclosed homes and driving up property values.
So last year, Centro Autonomo decided to try a creative idea to bolster affordable properties in the neighborhood: it created a “community land trust” called Casas del Pueblo. The land trust is a non-profit entity that will acquire properties in the neighborhood, then rent them out.