Archive for March 2011

The last Cabrini high-rise is demolished

Today marks a historic end point–the end of Cabrini-Green. A few months back, the last building was closed, and residents were shuffled out and relocated. Today, the wrecking ball gave the high-rise at 1230 N. Burling St. its first blow, one of many that will result in its disappearance within a week. I’ve been covering... Read more »

Has Illinois become a slave state?

Illinois has the distinction of being on the right side of history–one of the states that helped win the Civil War and didn’t permit slavery. But a new book by author Michelle Alexander flips that distinction on its head and begs the question: Have we turned from a free state to a slave state? Alexander... Read more »

Nearly 1 in 5 in Chicago aren't sure about their next meal

What are you having for dinner tonight? It’s a question everybody thinks about, but not everyone has an answer to. According to the latest data from Feeding America, 16.1 percent of Chicagoans are food insecure–meaning they don’t always have access to enough food to make it through the day. Even more surprising is that many... Read more »

Running from homelessness

After Charles Phillips was shot 13 times with an assault rifle, doctors told him he’d never walk again, and even if he did, he’d limp. Today, Phillips is running. No, not just the occasional jog. He’s run 150 miles in four months, running three times a week. But while he’s defied doctor’s predictions, Phillips still... Read more »

What do the homeless need? Ask them.

Most every day, I struggle with the same question many city-dwellers do: If someone on the street asks you for money, do you give it to them or just pass by? A study out of the United Kingdom is telling us something pretty surprising. Giving can work, but not just the spare change you have... Read more »

Is Chicago that different than Egypt? You might be surprised.

On Friday’s edition of the Barbershop Show, our weekly radio broadcast on Vocalo from Carter’s Barbershop in Lawndale, we asked the question: Could it happen here? “It” was three major world events–the possible nuclear meltdown in Japan, Egypt’s popular revolution and Wisconsin’s struggle over collective bargaining rights. It was my job to research Egypt, and... Read more »

Illinois House bill aims to end food stamp trafficking. But does the problem really exist?

This week, the Illinois House Human Services Committee approved a bill to “get tough” on food stamp recipients. How? Rep. Chapin Rose proposed a bill that would to try and ensure that people can’t sell their food stamps for money. If his bill passes, every LINK card–the state debit card that food stamp recipients use... Read more »

What the heck is the EITC?

A bunch of states are throwing around the idea of eliminating the Earned Income Tax Credit. Why do they want to get rid of it, and what is it anyway? Today, a simple primer on the credit–whom it’s for, what it does, why it works, and why it’s on the chopping block. More at Read more »

Chicago's public housing residents haven't given up fighting

Most people talk about public housing in Chicago like a relative that died years ago–only as a distant memory, something we shake our heads at but have moved on from. But one group of residents is trying to show they’re still here–and still fighting for their homes. This morning, a large group of residents from... Read more »

How poor folks get swindled at tax time

I saw two of them just this morning. Those tax guys in statue of liberty garb, waving their signs on street corners. Tax places seem to sprout up out of nowhere this time of year, filling any empty storefront they can find. “Get your refund today!” they cry, trying to replace something everyone hates (doing... Read more »