The Chicago Reporter

Chicago Reporter pushes city to secure vacant buildings, make banks pay up

The Chicago Reporter

Today, the Chicago City Council will hear an ordinance that would make banks that own vacant buildings secure their properties and pay up on their delinquent registration fees. That ordinance, supported by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, is a direct result of a Chicago Reporter investigation.

What do the homeless need? Ask them.

Megan Cottrell

 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 in your pocket. For giving to work, it shows, it has to be large, specific and continual. The results of the small study show that if the gift is right, it could just get that person from a street corner back into regular life.


Chicago: Ahead of LA and NYC in foreclosures

Megan Cotrell

Think Chicago is the forlorn second city? Think again. We've got LA and NYC beat in one department: foreclosures. 

The Center for Housing Policy recently released its website -, which has a wealth of recent data on foreclosures and delinquent loans for metropolitan areas all over the nation. Among the data is a ranking of the 366 largest U.S. metro areas by foreclosure rate (.xls) as of March of 2010. Where did Chicago shake out? 51.

Kimbriell Kelly, editor and publisher of the Chicago Reporter, is leaving nonprofit investigative news organization after eight years to join the Washington Post’s investigative team.

“I'm very sad to leave the Chicago Reporter, where I started at the ground floor as a [McCormick Tribune] fellow and worked my way all the way up to the top. So it's a little bittersweet. The Reporter will always be in my heart, and I know it has a very strong and successful future. I’m excited about joining the ranks of the former publishers who've made the magazine great.”

An interim publisher will be appointed next week while a search proceeds for Kelly’s successor. Now in its 40th year under the Community Renewal Society, the Reporter investigates race and poverty issues through its website, blog and bimonthly magazine.

Religious tolerance, freedom promoted at Sikh candlelight vigil (Photos)

The Chicago Reporter

As hundreds flooded into the Palatine Sikh Gurdwara, or temple, Monday night, all being required to remove their shoes and cover their heads, those of other faiths were identifiable by one thing: the educational pamphlets they had picked up on their way in. 

Interfaith religious tolerance was a message returned to again and again Monday night, as speakers offered their prayers for the six victims in the Sunday Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting. The candlelight vigil, held by the Sikh Religious Society, 1280 W. Winnetka St., welcomed people of all faiths to share in the sorrow and learn about Sikh culture and customs. 

Interactive map highlights poverty along CTA, Metra line

Megan Cottrell | The Chicago Reporter

How many times have you looked at a CTA map? Dozens, maybe hundreds, of times? Neat lines and colors, categorizing our city into eight colors and 144 dots.

But what if that map told you more about the people who lived there than just how to get to your destination?

Chicago Housing Authority's accounting of empty units draws attention from HUD

Angela Caputo | The Chicago Reporter

I walked into the Chicago Housing Authority's annual meeting Tuesday as Commissioner Mildred Harris ticked through a checklist of the agency's recent successes.

More than 800 new units are slated to open up this year; the occupancy at family sites sits at 98.8 percent; and mixed-income developments are 97.8 percent leased out. 

Where does Illinois' welfare money go?

Megan Cottrell | The Chicago Reporter

I was reading through a Stateline news piece on welfare this week and I got to this line at the end:

"But a growing concern is that no one really knows how the state and federal TANF money is being spent."

Um, what? That concerned me. According to the piece, the federal Government Accounting Office  figures that 71 percent of all the money spent on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families-- TANF, a.k.a. welfare-- is being spent on stuff that's not "cash assistance." 

With a focus on social, economic and political investigations, the Reporter’s stories have led to billions of dollars in residential fair-lending settlements against Countrywide, the nation's largest mortgage lender; among the magazine’s financial supporters have been President Obama and his senior advisor, David Axelrod. 

What court's Affordable Care Act rulings mean for Illinois

Nick Moroni | The Chicago Reporter

More low-income people in Illinois will be able to enroll in Medicaid, and the state could create its own exchange for Illinoisans to shop for competitively priced health insurance, following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision today to uphold most of President Barack Obama's signature health care law.

When it comes to Medicaid, the majority of the Supreme Court justices ruled that states could decide whether to expand their Medicaid coverage


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