Open Communities provides the hub for north suburban Chicago residents of all backgrounds to come together to work for housing, economic and social justice. We help people unite at the grassroots level so they can influence key decision-makers to promote policies, programs, or bricks-and-mortar developments that support healthy and diverse communities.
A few examples of the campaigns we’ve helped galvanize.
- Immigrants – We helped predominantly Mexican families with limited income at what is now Fort Sheridan Place, a 252-unit rental complex in Highwood, organize to prevent a condominium conversion.
- Mobile Home Residents – We first helped organize tenants of Sunset Village, a manufactured housing community in Glenview, IL, to advocate for their rights. When the park went into foreclosure, we worked with residents to assemble a group of powerful advocates to purchase the community.
- Motel Tenants – When 200 tenants of Morton Grove motels were threatened with displacement because the Village decided to tear down their homes as part of its Tax Increment Finance (TIF) district, we helped them organize, meet with elected officials, and stage protests as they sought to save their homes.
- Language Barrier – We helped organize residents at Village Center Apartments to address a variety of issues, the primary one being division between Russian-speaking and English-speaking tenants. The residents formed a council that brought together both groups and worked on the issues within the building.
Coalition of Congregations
We helped organize the ad hoc Religious Leaders Acting Together for Equality (RELATE) coalition in the wake of the hate-motivated murder of Ricky Byrdsong, a African American resident of Skokie who was shot while walking with his children. RELATE also developed a Joint Statement of unity that was most recently released on Justice Day 2015.