Affordable Housing in Disrepair | WBEZ
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Eight Forty-Eight

Affordable Housing in Disrepair

Heartland Alliance runs affordable housing developments throughout the city. That includes a building with a once-famous ballroom – the old Sutherland Hotel at 47th and Drexel Boulevard. Jazz greats like John Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis played there, drawing audiences from all over Chicago.

Heartland converted the building to affordable apartments about two decades ago. But residents say Heartland has allowed the building to fall into severe disrepair. Leroy Bowers has been living at the Sutherland since 1993 -- he's the secretary of the Sutherland Tenants Council Association. He gave Richard Steele a tour of the Sutherland, where the fire escape in the back of the building is crumbling. Bowers says a notice to shut off the building's gas was recently posted on the building. And all this comes after the tenants and Heartland teamed up in the 1990s to secure hundreds of thousands of dollars to restore the ballroom section of the building to its former glory. That era is a long way off.

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