by Judy Levey
Executive Director, JCUA
An article this week in the Washington Post called attention to the economic suffering of many communities four years after the housing bust. Near the top of the list for the most suffering is our own Cook County. The article states:
The list of worse-off communities includes places such as Cook County in Illinois, where home prices have fallen nearly 20 percent, unemployment has risen and the inventory of foreclosures has soared.
Responsive to poverty and community needs, JCUA’s work addresses this devastation through our housing advocacy work and our Community Ventures Program. Community Ventures provides zero-interest loans for the redevelopment and preservation of affordable housing. The program currently funds the rehabilitation of foreclosed homes in North Lawndale and neighboring communities through a loan to Breaking Ground, Inc., in addition to predevelopment costs associated with the rehabilitation of the Rosenwald Building to create more than 230 affordable units in Bronzeville (see more Community Ventures projects here).
My rabbi, Rabbi Kensky of Beth Hillel Congregation Bnai Emunah, spoke about the need for a Jewish voice in working to combat injustice in his Dvar Torah last Shabbat on the story of Noah. He generously shared his Dvar Torah with me and gave me permission to share it here. In it, Rabbi Kensky explained: