Life in Lathrop
  • Some Lathrop residents are concerned about being displaced from their homes. But most feel like all they can do is wait for the Chicago Housing Authority to make its decisions. As for the children growing up, this is still home.
  • Maria, in the kitchen of her row house. On hot summer days, Maria sells $1 frozen desserts to the kids on the block.
  • Sandra Sandifer, 54, has been living in Lathrop Homes since 2005. She has a row house under her name, and she often has family staying with her. Her son Demetrius just moved in with his wife and three kids.
  • Taleeyaha Sandifer, 1, snacks outside on a warm afternoon with her family.
  • The Pagans hold a weekly dominoes night every Monday with a tight-knit group of friends.
  • Jose Pagan, a native of Guadalajara, Mexico, has been married to his wife, Mildred, for three years. They live together in a row house in Lathrop Homes that Mildred moved into 37 years ago.
  • Demetrius Sandifer, 27, moved in recently on N. Hoyne Avenue with his wife, Toosdhi, and their three young daughters.
  • Jeremiah, 7, is one of many boys who doesn't reside in Lathrop homes, but visits often to play with the other boys in the neighborhood.
  • Jimmie, Poppie and Jacob hang out on the stoop of an empty unit. A week after this photo was taken, Jimmie was placed under house arrest for "assault or something."
  • Roosevelt Allen, 39, spent much of his childhood in Lathrop. "This whole place was deuces when I first came here. From the summer of '85 to like '90, it was all-out war. It was ridiculous."
Photos by Emily Jan / North by Northwestern

Lathrop Homes is a place rooted in the past, where residents say life used to be dangerous, crazy and fun. Its present is riddled in real estate politics and uncertain Chicago Housing Authority plans. In 2009, officials consolidated the unique public housing community, located east of the Chicago River and sandwiched between Logan Square and North Center, in a vague transformation plan that left many residents in limbo. Previously, residents had lived on both sides of Diversey Avenue; since the transformation, only units south of Diversey are occupied. According to Robert Davidson, the most recent president of the Local Advisory Council at Lathrop Homes, out of the 925 units, only 158 are currently occupied. Just recently, CHA announced more specific plans for Lathrop's redevelopments, which are to begin in 2015. However, many long–time residents fear that the proposed changes to the once–vibrant neighborhood will further push out the already small population of lower-income people.


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