School closures only add to blight in some Chicago neighborhoods (WBEZ)

The last thing many Chicago neighborhoods need is another abandoned building. 

Now that Chicago Public Schools is officially closing 50 schools, that means 42 buildings will be shuttered in June. Many dot areas of the city that are already grappling with poverty and seeking economic development. Neighborhoods like Austin, Englewood and West Garfield Park all have a disproportionate number of boarded-up buildings, foreclosed homes and cases of predatory lending. 

According to the Woodstock Institute, a Chicago-based housing policy think tank, Austin had 730 foreclosures in 2011. In 2012, foreclosures were up 28 percent in West Garfield Park and 27 percent in West Pullman. 

Woodstock’s Katie Bruitrago says an abandoned school might pile on further stress.

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