“Surviving Involuntary Displacement: Homeowners vs. Renters” – Michael Moreno


Author: Michael Moreno

Department: UIC Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement

Faculty: Dr. Joseph K. Hoereth, IPCE

In the late 1950s, there was an increase in Hispanic presence within the City of Chicago. By recent estimates, there are about 803,476 Hispanics who reside within the city alone (U.S. Census, 2016 American Community Survey). There is a range of issues facing Hispanic communities today that need to be addressed through an extensive public policy discussion acknowledging the presence and contributions of these Hispanic communities. The research, which focuses on involuntary displacement in Chicago’s Hispanic communities between 2000 and 2015, was driven by scholarly articles, Lower West Side (Pilsen) studies, South Lawndale (Little Village) studies, and Humboldt Park studies in order to fully analyze such discourse and propose possible policy recommendations. The ongoing trend of residential displacement continues within Hispanic dominated communities, in part due to urban revitalization initiatives that ignore the household income wages of minorities who live in the neighborhood and contribute to gentrification.

Although the Hispanic population in Chicago is high, the number of Hispanics who own homes remain low, since most residents are renters. Pilsen is a large Hispanic community known for its historically rich culture influence, and whose overall homeownership rate stands at 27%.  Many of the individuals have been displaced due to the housing market shifts and property value increases as an effect of white, middle, and upper-class residents moving in, resulting in minorities migrating to the nearby neighborhood, South Lawndale (Little Village). Homeownership cannot guarantee that a Hispanic household owner would not be displaced, but it can certainly be an effective buffer in slowing the progression of any potential displacement. Despite findings from the Urban Institute that Hispanic homeownership has risen and will continue to rise in coming years, displacement continues to be a threat for households living in Hispanic communities. The correlation between homeownership rates and displacement occurrences in these neighborhoods is explored in this research, in addition to policies that consist of increasing affordable homes for sale, expanding access to affordable home loan financing, and equitable and fair immigration policy solutions.

Read more about Michael's work here