All posts by sydboles2018

When CoreCivic Comes to Town: Lessons from Elkhart’s Grassroots Struggle to Preserve a Vibrant Community

By Sydney Boles and Rowan Lynam
Medill Reports

In Pembroke, Illinois, it started in Hopkins Park; in Gary, it started right across the street from their small airport; in Crete, it was Balmoral Park. In Elkhart, Indiana, it started at the intersection of county roads 7 and 26. It was a stretch of weeds and snow next to the county’s correctional facility and its huge, methane-leaking landfill, catty-corner from the well-worked farmland of German immigrants.

This unremarkable piece of nowhere, Indiana would have held over a thousand immigrants in ICE civil detention. They would have been held in a private, maximum-security facility with the capability to hold 60 in solitary confinement, encased in a total visual barrier.

Would have — because Elkhart, like so many Chicagoland towns before it, said no. Continue reading

Beyond the itch: The real cost of bed bugs

By Sydney Boles
Medill Reports

Andrea Sturm was teetering on the edge of homelessness in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood when the bed bugs came. Too itchy to focus, furious at her landlord for allegedly neglecting the problem, Sturm sprayed her apartment with alcohol to kill the pests. Then she lit a cigarette.

The burn marks covered her thighs in mottled purple knots.

She must have spilled alcohol on her clothes in her frenzy.
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For Minimum Wage Workers, Affordable Housing is Further Out of Reach, New Study Shows

By Sydney Boles
Medill Reports

A new report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition shows that affordable housing is further out of reach for minimum wage workers in Chicago than it was in 2015.

Someone working at the Chicago minimum wage would have to work 1.6 full-time jobs to afford a one-bedroom apartment, up from 1.3 in 2015. In other words, if a minimum wage worker had only one full-time job, they could reasonably afford just $572 in rent, slightly more than half the cost of the average Chicago apartment.

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