Mina Bloom and Ariel Cheung wrote for Belt Magazine about the ways Chicago is trying to keep housing affordable. This story is part of the RiseLocal project of the National Network.
Lesley Gonzalez grew up in Chicago’s historically Latino neighborhood of Logan Square, on the young end of the Millennial generation and as the only child of Mexican immigrants. Visual traces of her childhood lingered in the tiny studio apartment at 2936 W. Palmer Street years after she’d reached adulthood. “We left my growth spurts on the wall, and in my closet, I stuck stickers that are still there,” recalls Lesley, now 21. “It was something I knew my whole life.” It wasn’t perfect — her parents slept in the living room each night — but it was home, and her small family was a happy one. Lesley’s parents saved up for their daughter’s college education and for a dream of their own: becoming full American citizens, an expensive but long-desired goal. (Gonzalez is Lesley’s paternal grandmother’s maiden name. Because Lesley’s parents are undocumented, we have chosen to protect the family’s identity.)