The Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP) has been a pillar in the southwest Chicago community for 28 years, working with its many leaders, member institutions, partners, and community members towards goal of building relationships to act against systemic and racial injustices. SWOP has undertaken many different actions and initiatives; one of the longest lived being the Reclaiming Southwest Chicago Campaign. There have been leaps and bounds made in terms of progress with the most recent being the commitment from Mayor Brandon Johnson to work with SWOP, its member institutions, and United Power partners to build 500 homes on both the south and west sides as part of the city-wide Reclaiming Campaign.
As of January 2024, SWOP has seven properties, five of those properties being single family homes or 2-flats and the other two are multi-unit buildings. Harry Meyer, Director of Property Reactivation at SWOP, spoke about the construction taking place on one of the buildings at 6520 S. Campbell which will provide 6 units for rental. “We really want to get this knocked out as quickly as possible, but also want to make sure it’s fixed up to high standard for the people who will be moving in. People are always reaching out about housing and these different residences we are working are making a difference.” Harry continued sharing that they also submitted a preliminary application for Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) for a project on 63rd and western though this is in the conceptual stage as of now.
When asked about the future of the Reclaiming Campaign, Harry shared that he and his team are continuing to look for more single-family and 2-flat homes as their goal is to do 25 more buildings like that in 2024. SWOP has also put together a cohort of community members who have expressed an interest in buying property and becoming homeowners to work with them in getting into these homes. He encourages those interested to reach out to Harry Meyer (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Dantay Williams (email@example.com).