Residents Rally on Wednesday, Jan. 28 to Save Reclaimed ‘Community House’ from Citibank

CHICAGO, IL—(ENEWSPF)—January 27, 2015. Community members will rally Wednesday to demand that Citibank meet with a Rogers Park family seeking to buy the foreclosed home they live in. On January 28 at 11:30 a.m., members of neighborhood and housing-rights organizations will hold a press conference in front of the bank branch at 2295 N. Milwaukee as the family attempts to meet with bank representatives inside.

The Dolores-Calvillo family has resided in their home at 7245 N Ridge for three years. During that time, Maria Dolores-Calvillo and her brother Gerardo Calvillo, who run a neighborhood daycare, have also turned the home into a focal point of community life, hosting a community garden, Spanish and English-language film screenings, clothing donation-drives and fundraisers for neighborhood organizations.

When the family moved into the vacant, banked-owned home in 2012, it had been sitting empty for more than a year. They have cared for the home and kept up with maintenance, in addition to turning it into a welcoming space for neighbors of all backgrounds.

Citibank, which bought the home out of foreclosure, is now seeking to evict the family. The family is seeking to purchase the home and maintain it as a community space.

“We want to continue developing a place where people in the neighborhood can gather, share knowledge and skills, and feel that they belong,” says Maria Dolores-Calvillo, whose son and grandchildren also live in the home. “If the bank takes away the home, we won’t be able to do that.”

In December, Dolores-Calvillo submitted an offer to purchase the home back from Citibank, but the offer was rejected, and the bank has refused to meet with her directly. The family has been told that they could now be evicted any day.

Gerardo Calvillo emphasizes that there are more than 50,000 vacant homes in the Chicago area—a direct result of a wave of foreclosures that devastated many communities. Instead of sitting empty, Calvillo believes that these homes should be used to provide affordable housing and community meeting spaces. “We have reclaimed a home that otherwise would be sitting empty,” he says. “We believe that there needs to be a different way to do housing, that puts peoples’ well-being over banks’ right to profit.”

Sources:Autonomous Center of Albany Park, Communities United Against Foreclosure and Eviction