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LGBTQ-Friendly Affordable Housing Complex Proposed For Logan Square

By Paul Biasco | May 19, 2016 11:33am
 The proposed John Pennycuff Memorial Apartments at Robert Castillo Plaza would be built at 2031 N. Milwaukee Ave.
The proposed John Pennycuff Memorial Apartments at Robert Castillo Plaza would be built at 2031 N. Milwaukee Ave.
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LOGAN SQUARE — A 100 percent affordable, LGBTQ-friendly housing development is being proposed in Logan Square.

Ald. Joe Moreno (1st) unveiled a plan to build the apartment project that will include 88 affordable housing units Thursday morning. The affordable units will be restricted to households earning up to 60 percent of the area median income.

The project will be paid for with tax increment financing funds from the Milwaukee-Fullerton TIF district, CHA funds, tax credits and private financing, according to Moreno.

The seven-story building is being proposed as a transit-oriented development at 2031 N. Milwaukee Ave., just northwest of Armitage Avenue.

“I am pleased to announce this TIF-funded affordable housing project in Logan Square, which has been in the planning process for more than two years,” Moreno said in an announcement of the project.

“As you know, my commitment has always been to use TIF funds for two reasons: schools and affordable housing. I think this housing development is a great opportunity to bring even more affordability to Logan Square.”

The John Pennycuff Memorial Apartments at Robert Castillo Plaza will be the second LGBTQ-friendly affordable housing building in Chicago, according to Moreno's announcement.

Pennycuff and Castillo were born in Logan Square and were partners in life and activism, fighting for equality in the LGBTQ community and for affordable housing in the neighborhood.

Both served on the City of Chicago Advisory Council on LGBT Issues, and they were the first couple to register for the Cook County Domestic Partnership Registry in 2003. They were married in 2004.

Pennycuff, who was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame, died in 2012.

Pennycuff and Castillo famously flew a rainbow flag at their apartment near St. Louis and Wrightwood despite threats and vandals who burned or ripped it down, according to a report in the Windy City Times.

"This is an historic moment in the 1st Ward and for the LGBTQ community," Moreno said. 

The alderman is hosting a meeting Saturday to release details of the development as the first step toward community review and approval of the project.

The meeting will be held at Congress Pizzeria, 2033 N. Milwaukee, from 2:30-4:30 p.m.

Community partners in the development include the Metropolitan Housing Development Corp., La Casa Norte, Latin United Community Housing Association, and the Puerto Rican Cultural Center.

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