ENGLEWOOD —The childhood home of Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson could be turned into a shelter for women if Hudson's sister has her way.
"We still own the home and I would like to turn it into a shelter for women as soon as possible or by my mother's birthday, which is Nov. 7," Julia Hudson told DNAinfo.com Chicago Wednesday at a back-to-school event in which she and her sister gave out free school supplies to students in West Pullman. "At least that is what I would like to see the house used for."
The two-story, frame home at 7019 S. Yale Ave. has been vacant since 2008 when Julia and Jennifer Hudson's 57-year-old mother, Darnell Donerson; 29-year-old brother, Jason Hudson; and Julia's 7-year-old son, Julian King, were shot to death by Julia's ex-husband, William Balfour. Balfour was sentenced to life in prison in 2012 by a Cook County judge.
Julia Hudson, 35, said she hadn't spoken to any social service agencies about her idea to turn the house into the shelter, but Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th), whose ward includes the Hudson home, likes the idea.
"This is a family that continues to give back to the Englewood community and opening a shelter is one more way to give back," he said.
Jennifer Hudson, who appeared briefly at the event Wednesday, was unavailable for comment, her representatives said.
Neighbors of the home said they would support a shelter.
"Anything beats a vacant building in Englewood," said Lawanda Chimes, 45. "I drive past the house sometimes and it saddens me to see that since the incident nothing has been done to maintain the property. The grass has not been cut in ages and some of the windows are broken."
Neighbor Reginald Thomas, 31, said if the home is turned into a shelter, he hopes it does not bear Jennifer's name so it doesn't become a tourist attraction.
"I have nothing against Jennifer Hudson, but if her name is on the shelter then it becomes a tourist destination instead of shelter," Thomas said. "People that live in shelters want privacy and do not want reporters and tourists standing outside taking photos."