Green ReEntry Project is Completed on the Southwest Side

Green ReEntry House ribbon cutting

The marching band from Fairfield Elementary, across the street from the house on Fairfield, enhances the celebration (more photos).

City housing advocates are celebrating the completion of an unusual housing project on Chicago’s Southwest Side.

On April 28, JCUA joined city and foundation officials and others to celebrate the Inner City-Muslim Action Network’s ribbon cutting on 6210 S. Fairfield. The house, which was the second project completed by the Green ReEntry crew, was the culmination of tremendous efforts of an unconventional idea that went far beyond the confines of a typical bricks and mortar project.

The Green ReEntry crew is made up of formerly incarcerated individuals who are reclaiming their lives through leadership training, community engagement, and learning construction skills (learn more about Green ReEntry).

“We would never have been able to acquire this home if community partners and organizers from the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, Southwest Organizing Project and others across the city didn’t come together three years ago through the Multifaith Housing Reclamation Campaign to help us mobilize with our local leaders around this home,” said IMAN’s Alia Bilal who served as emcee that morning.

“I’ve been involved with development for close to three decades, but I think this is the first time I’ve seen something like this,” said Andy Mooney, Commissioner of Planning and Development for the City of Chicago. Mooney was referring to the unique set of local and global partners who came together under IMAN’s leadership over the last several years to forge a new model for redevelopment.

Rabbi Ben Greenberg and Clyde El-Amin

JCUA’s Rabbi Ben Greenberg greets Clyde El-Amin, former president of Kennedy-King College.

It was back in 2010 that the project partners first announced this unusual project (read more on the JCUA’s blog here and an update here).

“This was much more than just a job training program; this gave us our humanity back,” said Charles Yacoub Farmer, a lead apprentice on the Green ReEntry Crew.

“JCUA was proud to help in numerous ways,” said Judy Levey, JCUA’s executive director. “We went to housing court asking that the house to be deeded to IMAN. And we spoke out about the urgent need to rehab and redevelop foreclosed and abandoned homes in areas of the city that have been hard-hit.”

JCUA congratulates our friends at IMAN on the completion of this attractive home, which will have new tenants and community space early this summer.

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