Welcome to the Southwest Organizing Project’s (SWOP) website. We are glad you are here. We hope this website will give the institutions, leaders, and residents of the Southwest Chicago community the opportunity to connect with one another, tell their stories, and build power for change in the community.
Lots of Reclaiming Updates Since May 25th Kickoff
On May 25, 2017, more than 500 community leaders gathered at St. Adrian Church to kickoff the next phase of the Reclaiming Southwest Chicago Campaign (read about it here.) Since then, a lot has happened with the campaign.
SWOP/Brinshore have completed 10 buildings since May, leasing up 25 units. All the units completed during the first phase of the campaign are occupied. Recently, SWOP/Brinshore sold their first single family home. Three more are scheduled to be completed soon. Using $1 million dollars committed from Metro IAF and LISC Chicago, SWOP and Brinshore are looking to acquire new buildings in the expanded target area.
Harry Meyer and SWOP’s new Adler School data intern, Diana Chaidez, have been completing the most recent survey of housing vacancy in the community. The latest analysis shows that in the original 20 block target area, the community has gone from 93 long-term vacant buildings to 13 today.
Crime continues to go down in the community. In 2012, there were a total of 327 crimes in the original target area. Last year, there were 135, a decrease of 58%. And crime continues to fall this year. While crime is down, generally speaking, across the community and city, this is significantly more than the 33% decrease in the new target area during the same time period.
SWOP’s education programs are now underway in schools across the community. Here’s a story about local Parent Mentors getting trained to start their work in 12 schools in the neighborhood. Here’s another story about work at Gage Park to increase community involvement in the school. The Teen REACH, Elev8, and VOYCE programs have all started up at Morrill, Marquette, and Gage Park respectively. SWOP just started running the CPS-funded community school program at Talman; a first for SWOP.
Immigration continues to be a challenge given what is happening at the federal level. Here is a story about SWOP’s response to the changes to DACA. Here is a story about some of the work SWOP did to support DACA recipients. SWOP continues to offer workshops on immigration every Wednesday evening in the SWOP office and to provide legal services through the SWOP attorney.
The work around the commercial corridor is about to move to the next step. SWOP will be working with the firm JGMA, an award winning architectural firm, on a community design process for commercial spaces in the community.
Lastly, SWOP has raised about $3 million towards the overall campaign goal of $10 million and just over $10,000 towards the local giving campaign goal of $20,000.
Want to read more stories about SWOP’s work? They are all here.