“I’ve been living in this condo for the past 18 years and the impact of the Obama Presidential Center has been on the minds of every homeowner I know and what that is going to mean for our taxes," said Linda Jennings, a longtime South Shore condo owner. (Trent Sprague/For Illinois Answers Project)

For years, housing advocates warned of gentrification encroaching in South Side neighborhoods spurred by the incoming Obama Presidential Center, and those alarms are now ringing louder as recent data shows investors flocking to surrounding neighborhoods at higher rates than ever before. 

“People should be afraid, they should be concerned about firms that don’t live in this community buying up homes,” said Dixon Romeo, a South Shore organizer with Not Me We, a group fighting for better housing and sustainability. “It’s very simple, the goal of every firm is to make profit, right? In terms of housing that means raising the rent, imposing unnecessary fees and effectively displacing people.” 

Across the country corporate investors are buying larger market shares of homes, and that trend has only grown during the global pandemic. That trend is more pronounced in low-income and predominantly Black neighborhoods. 

Manny RamosAccountability & Solutions Reporter

Manny comes to Illinois Answers Project after four years at the Chicago Sun-Times where he most recently covered transportation. During his time at the Sun-Times, he covered a broad range of topics, including communities and the U.S. Census Bureau. Manny joined the Sun-Times as a Report for America corps member with a mission to strengthen the paper’s coverage of issues facing the city’s South and West Sides. Manny is a Chicago native who has a background in service and solution journalism - which was showcased during his time at City Bureau, a nonprofit civic media organization. He was part of teams that reported on dwindling community-policing initiatives, public health issues related to building demolitions and how incarcerated people struggle to seek post-conviction relief. Manny also has written for the Chicago Reader, WBEZ Chicago, The Groundtruth Project, and South Side Weekly. He graduated from DePaul University with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism.