July 25, 2024


Living – be prepared

‘I Came Home To A Nightmare’

3 min read

ROGERS PARK — Tenants of a Rogers Park apartment building said overhauls to their units made their living situations worse.

Renters of the Northpoint Apartments in the 7700 block of North Paulina Street joined Ald. Maria Hadden (49th) Tuesday to ask landlord Related Midwest to fix problems with a June renovation at the federally subsidized complex.

Northpoint Apartments is a 12-building, 304-unit development that includes federally subsidized Section 8 housing. It was bought in 2019 by Related Midwest, one of the city’s biggest developers, which is behind the 78 megadevelopment in the South Loop.

The renovations were incomplete and shoddy in some areas, residents said. There are pest infestations, including bed bugs, faulty heating systems, unfinished structural repairs and inoperable appliances, residents said.

Valerie Davis said she left the building during the renovation in June only to come home to a stove that doesn’t work.

“When I came home I was expecting to find a beautiful apartment,” she said. “I came home to a nightmare.”

Related Midwest, which owns and manages several subsidized apartments in the city, including Lathrop Homes, spent $21 million on the Rogers Park apartments, company officials said in a statement. Upgrades include a new roof and windows and upgraded kitchens, company officials said.

“We remain committed to working with residents, organizers and elected officials and will continue to be responsive to any resident concerns, including through monthly meetings with residents and stakeholders to ensure the community continues to have quality affordable housing options,” the statement read.

Angela Clay of Northside Action For Justice speaks outside Northpoint Apartments on March 15, 2022.

Hadden said her office has worked with tenants and Related Midwest to rectify the problems. The company has been open to communication, but the issues persist, Hadden said.

Hadden said the city should consider cutting off Related Midwest from receiving public funds until it improves conditions at its buildings.

“These are minimum standards,” she said. “Poor people matter, too. You can make a profit while still doing your job.”

Not all Northpoint residents are unhappy with their apartments.

Toy Battle, who was made available to the media through a Related Midwest representative, lives at Northpoint with his two children.

Like some residents, Battle said he was skeptical about how much Related Midwest could get done during the five days he was asked to live in a hotel while renovations were underway. He was impressed with the results, he said.

“I feel like it was an upgrade,” he said. “We have more space in the kitchen. It’s functional. It looks better.”

Tenants of the building joined activists include Northside Action For Justice to demand Related Midwest make sure all the complex’s units are suitable for living.

“We shouldn’t be treated like this,” said 35-year Northpoint resident Brenda Dunkins. “This is a billion-, trillion-dollar company, and they don’t care.”

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