ROGERS PARK — Maria Delores Calvillo never expected her house to be a stop on a city bus tour.
Her modest three-bedroom duplex isn't a celebrity's birthplace or the site of some historical event. But on Saturday, her home in Rogers Park was the final stop on a citywide tour of vacant and foreclosed homes, put together by several community groups trying to prevent foreclosures and evictions.
“We need to be united,” said Calvillo. “The abuse will only stop when we stand up and start fighting.”
Calvillo is a member of one of three groups putting on the event that drew three buses of Chicago residents.
Starting at 75th and Dorchester on the city's South Side, and continuing up through the West and North sides, community members from the Centro Autónomo de Albany Park, the Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign, and Communities United Against Foreclosure and Eviction, talked about their experiences with foreclosure, homelessness, vacant homes and eviction.
“The same communities that are devastated by empty homes and foreclosures are the same communities where we see school closings and other resources lacking,” said Jorge Ortiz, Calvillo's son, who also is a member of Communities United. “The tour is about showcasing the minimal effort that's been taken to stop the devastation in so many neighborhoods.”
The tour aimed to unite folks from all sides of the city who are continuing to deal with the fallout from the housing crisis and decades of disinvestment in their communities, said Roberto de la Riva, an organizer with Centro Autónomo.
“We hear media outlets saying the market is getting better but that's not really the case in these neighborhoods,” said de la Riva.