A Logan Square church project in Chicago received $2 million in federal funds for affordable apartment conversions.
The funds will be used to convert the 92-year-old Humboldt Park Methodist Church at 2122 North Mozart Street into 22 affordable apartments, according to Block Club Chicago. Non-profit developer LUCHA, the Spanish word for struggle, aims to improve housing for low-income Latin and African-American communities.
“Affordable housing is a human right,” said Lisette Castañeda, LUCHA executive director. “It really says that for our communities, this is what’s important, and our elected officials are listening to us.”
A project aimed at combating gentrification-fueled displacement, church leaders partnered with LUCHA to renovate the Humboldt Park Methodist Church, home to existing 12 apartments, and add 10 units. The City Council approved the project in December 2020, but the $11 million project needs about $7 million more in addition to the existing funds from the government and the state.
Initially built for a German congregation in 1928, the Spanish-speaking Humboldt Park United Methodist took over the church in 1968 and has become a community hub offering free legal aid to immigrants. In 1989, the congregation started a ministry helping the homeless and built 10 affordable housing apartments as displacement pressures continued to mount.
“We as a congregation have lost our Latinx families who have been displaced out of this neighborhood through the evils of gentrification, Paula Cripps-Vallejo, Humboldt Park United Methodist Church’s reverend previously said.
The apartments, consisting of studios, one-, two-, and three-bedrooms, will be available only for households earning up to 60 percent of the area median income, the city’s requirements under the Affordable Requirements Ordinance.
LUCHA was one of the 10 developers awarded funding with support from Representative Jesús García. Other projects that were granted federal funds include St. Anthony Hospital, which received $923,000 to build a campus in Little Village and Brighton Park Neighborhood Council that was awarded about $1 million to set up a new community center.