Homeowners Maria Cruz Espino and Fabian Espino talk about their experience with the New Homes for Chicago program with Raul Raymundo (center), CEO of The Resurrection Project.
This profile is part of a series that highlights the work of government, business and community leaders in creating a more equitable and inclusive Chicago region. Each of these stories is featured in "Our Equitable Future"—two dozen recommendations to advance equity MPC released in response to the 2017 Cost of Segregation findings.
When Maria Cruz Espino and Fabian Espino moved into their brand-new Pilsen home in 1997, they could barely believe their good luck. “The girls were so excited, choosing their rooms,” Maria says.
The Espinos purchased their four-bedroom property through the New Homes For Chicago initiative, launched in 1990 by the City of Chicago to provide low- and moderate-income working families with the opportunity to buy high-quality new houses.
New Homes facilitated the development of city-owned vacant land for low-cost, new housing and provided subsidies for both developers and homebuyers. What once were vacant lots became the sites of families’ dreams.
But the Espinos’ home offered more than a safe, beautiful place to rest their heads. Homeownership is the single greatest wealth-building vehicle for people of color in America, and the Espinos’ property allowed them to grow their assets.
“Many working families do not invest in the stock market. One of the few vehicles by which they can build wealth is by becoming homeowners,” says Raul Raymundo, longtime CEO of The Resurrection Project, a community development non-profit founded in 1990 in order to fight blight and crime in Pilsen.
Through the years, Maria and Fabian watched their children grow up and go to local universities, one by one. They’ve planted tomatoes and jalapeños in their garden while they’ve put down deep roots in Pilsen, a community where rising prices threaten to displace many longtime residents.
Now, more than ever, as prices rise, investments like New Homes For Chicago are critical for Chicagoans. Raul, Maria and Fabian agree: New Homes For Chicago worked for Pilsen, and it can work again.
Explore more of the stories in this series.
Who's advancing equity in the Chicago region right now?
This 5-minute video highlights some government, community and business leaders who are already taking action to make our region more equitable and inclusive every day.
MPC thanks CIBC US for generously sponsoring this video.