Open Communities developed an online housing referral guide to assist immigrants and people with disabilities. Learn more >
Through community education, innovative programming, and extensive organizing and outreach, Open Communities empowers immigrants in Chicago’s northern suburbs. In addition to the details listed below, we also reach out to Latino homeowners to help stem the tide of foreclosures via Operation H.E.L.P.
Putting a Dollar Value to Diversity in Highwood
Open Communities worked with the Voorhees Center of the University of Illinois at Chicago on an Impact Study (2006) that arguably is the first to quantify the value of a diverse population. Seen through the lens of Northshore Estates in Highwood, a 250-unit rental complex tenanted almost entirely by Latino immigrants that was threatened with a potential condo conversion, the study uses a variety of data sources to show that having tenants live close to work (half the tenants worked in Highwood), and shop and go to school in the area, has a positive impact on local businesses and property taxes. The study also assesses the impact on racial and ethnic diversity. In 2010, a new owner converted to Fort Sheridan Place Luxury Apartments, remaining as rental housing, which allowed many residents to stay.
Open Communities launched Eating Locally Acting, Globally in September 2013 with funding from the Sally Mead Hands Foundation. Alicia De La Cruz (Immigrant Leadership Project Director) and Lali Watt (community leader, sustainable agriculture and environmental activist) conceived of the project as a way to promote sustainable agriculture and immigrant integration by organizing a culturally and economically diverse group of women who met and exchanged ways to eat healthy, locally grown foods in season.