The neighborhoods of Chicago affected most by crime and violence tend to be some of the most economically depressed parts of the city, where jobs, commerce, and investment lag. Community leaders working on the ground to reverse this economic depression say their efforts have often lacked the coordinated planning, resources, and commitment from the city to sustain progress. But now, some of them see positive signs in a fledgling economic development program targeting South Side neighborhoods, as well as in other community finance tools emerging in Chicago.
This summer, Nedra Fears moved from Atlanta to Chicago’s South Side at a time when affluent blacks are more likely to do the opposite. Sixty-year-old Fears is living at her mom’s house in Chatham and looking for a home to buy in the historic black community, whose fortunes have declined in the past several decades.