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Affordable Housing Waiting List In Pilsen Just Got A Lot Shorter

By Ariel Cheung | November 2, 2017 6:46am
 Casa Morelos, a 45-unit apartment complex managed by The Resurrection Project, is at 2015 S. Morgan St. in Pilsen.
Casa Morelos, a 45-unit apartment complex managed by The Resurrection Project, is at 2015 S. Morgan St. in Pilsen.
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Provided/The Resurrection Project

PILSEN — Those looking for affordable housing in Chicago might find their wait shorter than expected as The Resurrection Project revamps its application process and reopened its waiting list Wednesday.

From more than 1,000 names, the list was whittled down to about 140 applicants still looking for housing in one of the nonprofit organization's 32 buildings in Pilsen, Back of the Yards, Little Village and suburban Melrose Park, said Veronica Gonzalez, vice president of real estate development for the organization.

It took about two months to clean up the waiting list as The Resurrection Project contacted each person to determine whether or not they were still interested in filling a vacancy, a process the organization goes through every year, Gonzalez said.

"If you have 500 people ahead of you [on the list] and 400 of those folks have already found an apartment and moved on, I still have to go through all 400 of those names before I get to you," Gonzalez said. Purging the list of inactive names speeds things up for those who still need housing, she said.

The Resurrection Project currently has about 50 vacancies in the almost 600 units it manages, two-thirds of which are in Pilsen. Applicants are eligible for the affordable housing if their households earn less than 60 percent of the area median income, which is approximately $33,180 for a single person or $47,400 for a family of four.

Rents are as low as $300 per month for those with the lowest incomes and go up to $1,600, with an average of $680.

Workforce housing and home ownership programs are also available for those who earn up to 120 percent of the area media income.

Gonzalez began working at The Resurrection Project in April 2016 after working closely with her predecessor, Guacolda Reyes, after five years with the Chicago Housing Authority.

"Two Latina women in the real estate industry is not common, especially in affordable housing," said Gonzalez, who grew up in Little Village. "So we started exchanging ideas, working together."

When she joined The Resurrection Project, she continued to work with Reyes, who still sits on the board, as she dove into assessing the organization's housing program.

Along with a new chief real estate development officer, she began to overhaul The Resurrection Project's property management.

Now applicants can list the buildings or neighborhoods they're interested in so Gonzalez knows ahead of time whether an applicant will want to fill whichever vacancies come up.

Gonzalez hopes the changes will increase occupancy rates within The Resurrection Project's housing program and help it continue to grow.

"We're trying every day to acquire properties to preserve and maintain affordable housing in the neighborhood," Gonzalez said.