Despite Mortgage Crisis, The Resurrection Project Continues Outreach in Pilsen

Photo by Rima Thompson. Alex Morales speaks about The Resurrection Project at Depaul.

Alex Morales of The Resurrection Project (TRP) described a scene at a recent housing foreclosure fair.

It was held in the neighborhood of Pilsen where the community development organization was founded and continues to focus most of its resources.

A group of local homeowners seated at a table were joined by a mortgage lender from a major bank.

Morales said, “the lender was pretty happy to be there,” but when he sat down, all of the homeowners “left their seats with angry faces.”  Although Morales appeared to sympathized more with the residents than the lender, the story illustrated the residual pain resulting from the mortgage debacle.

“With the housing market conditions and consumer confidence down, it’s pretty difficult to sell a home or for some people to find the credit to purchase a home,” Morales said.

He claimed that sub-prime lenders offered adjustable rate mortgages to unqualified buyers without verifying income.  The result was a high number of Pilsen homeowners sitting on “ballooning” mortgage payments and limited options.

In response, The Resurrection Project – the Pilsen neighborhood community development organization – began the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, which established partnerships with organizations certified to re-negotiate loans with the goal of keeping residents in their homes.  They also purchased homes from struggling families and allowed them to rent with the potential of future ownership.

“We were reacting to the problem,” Morales explained.

The Resurrection Project’s own financial situation was also affected by the  housing crisis.  In response to a growing number of vacant lots in Pilsen, they began investing in properties.  They created affordable homes, some that Morales now claimed they were “stuck with.”  Nevertheless, the organization boasts several successful ventures in affordable housing including Casa Morelo and Casa Maravilla. Read more of this post