Help Us Reclaim Our Community for the People!

An appeal by Shani Smith, Chair of Liberate the South Side

Shani Smith. Source: Chris Walker, The Chicago Tribune

What the banks have done to our communities is a moral outrage! Nationwide, more than a quarter of our homes, including my own, are underwater. Since the banks crashed the economy, I’ve been between unemployment and underemployment. My sister Tene was forced to move back in with my family. But when she moved in, she discovered that we too were struggling. My home, once valued over $250,000, is now worth only half that amount. Through a series of fraudulent practices, the banks have tried to take my home away – and for what? To board it up and let it go to waste? Our community is inundated with vacant and boarded-up homes. They are a blight to the neighborhood and attract crime – and incredibly, there are more vacant homes than there are homeless families! That’s just not right! We need to fight back!

And that’s why we’ve come together as a group of concerned citizens to form Liberate the Southside – in order to reclaim these vacant properties for our neighborhood.

Three weeks ago, we reclaimed our first home: a small single-family unit in the neighborhood I’ve lived most of life, Calumet Heights. After nearly a month of hard work fixing the place up, we were able to move my sister back into a real home for her family.

But the project is not over! We need your help! More repairs are needed for the home, utilities must be paid, and we’ll need more funds to continue our plans to liberate the South Side. Your gift of $25-100 will help us continue housing families and holding the banks accountable by taking back our communities!

Thank you for your support,

Shani Smith
Chair of Liberate the Southside

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