How single-family lending drives neighborhood inequality, Pritzker signs SAFE-T Act and more in your Chicago news roundup

Today’s update is a 5-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

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This old firehouse at 6204 S. Green St. in Englewood once housed Engine Company 84 and now is being repurposed for a new culinary development.

An old Englewood firehouse that once housed Engine Company 84 is being repurposed for a new development under Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s Invest South/West initiative.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a five-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.

This afternoon will be mostly cloudy with a high near 43 degrees. Similar weather will continue into tonight with a low near 34. Tomorrow will be cloudy with a chance of rain and also with a high near 43.

Top story

Single-family lending drives neighborhood disparities, new report finds

Single-family home lending is one of the biggest drivers of disparities among Chicago’s neighborhoods, according to a new report from the Urban Institute.

A report released today by the Urban Institute — a Washington, D.C.-based think tank — examines the types of investments in Chicago during the time period of 2010 to 2020. Brett Theodos, a researcher at the institute, said analysts spent about a year looking at the different types of capital flows into the city and seeing how it compared with investments in other cities across the country.

Chicago can double down on efforts like making communities safer to attract more investments in single-family home lending, but other forms of investment also have to happen, he said. He cited Chicago’s Invest South/West, designed to spur development in targeted parts of the city through public and private funding, as one example of how more investments could be directed into neighborhoods.

The report found that the more Black residents who lived in a neighborhood, the less investment the area saw compared with neighborhoods with a larger population of white residents.

Between 2010 and 2020 for single-family investment, neighborhoods where more than 80% of residents identified as Black received an average annual investment of dollars per owner-occupied household of $5,050. Neighborhoods where more than 80% of residents identify as white received $30,284, according to the report. Neighborhoods where more than 60% of residents identified as Latino or Hispanic received $6,667, and neighborhoods where more than 20% of the population identified as Asian received $15,353.

“It really is especially the work of mission finance as well the public sector to help even out some of these disparities and help catalyze and spur growth and more investment,” Theodos said. “Obviously, it needs to be done in a way that builds off of residents who are there rather than swapping them out for other residents. It is something where it’s going to take philanthropy, nonprofits, government who are willing to take more risks to get them to move forward.”

The findings from the Urban Institute aren’t the first time that home lending has been linked to Chicago’s racial disparities. In 2020, an investigation by WBEZ and City Bureau found that banks invested more money in Lincoln Park, a neighborhood with a majority white population, than they did in all of Chicago’s majority-Black neighborhoods combined. The Urban Institute’s report looked at data from the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act from 2010 to 2020 for loans associated with owner-occupied single-family properties that had less than four units, according to the report.

Though there are various local, state and federal programs, Theodos said officials should look at how the programs can all be tied together to increase investments into communities.

Elvia Malagón has more on the new report’s findings here.

More news you need

  1. Chicago police have appealed to the public for help as they search for the killer of a 15-year-old boy shot dead down the street from his high school in South Austin. Kevin Davis “was a good young man,” his grandmother Sharoylnn Turner said. “He helped his mother out with his little sister. He looked up to his uncles.”
  2. A person pulled from Lake Michigan at Oak Street Beach early this morning has been identified as a man who was reported missing over the weekend in River North. Krzysztof Szubert, 21, was last seen Saturday at River North bar Howl at the Moon, a missing persons flier states.
  3. A woman who watched her former boyfriend murder six members of his extended family at their Gage Park home and then helped him steal their property was sentenced to 25 years in prison yesterday. Jafeth Ramos, 25, pleaded guilty to one count of armed robbery and agreed to testify against her former boyfriend, Diego Uribe, at his trial.
  4. Families, educators and neighbors of Dunbar Vocational Career Academy in Bronzeville said they were blindsided to learn their principal and another administrator were suspended pending an investigation into alleged misconduct, the nature of which remains unclear. Dunbar Principal Gerald Morrow and school culture director Marva Nichols were removed from their positions Friday until the investigation is complete.
  5. The Senate last night confirmed Doris Lenea Pryor for a spot on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, the first Black judge from Indiana to serve on the Chicago-based panel. Pryor will be only the third Black judge to serve on a court dominated by white men since the 7th Circuit held its first session on June 16, 1891.
  6. Gov. J.B. Pritzker yesterday quietly signed into law revisions to the controversial criminal justice package known as the SAFE-T Act — the vehicle for a no cash-bail system that begins on Jan. 1. It was nothing like the very public signing of the original measure in February of 2021, where Pritzker smiled broadly and held up a copy of the bill — a measure that prompted dozens of lawsuits and a steady drumbeat of negative commercials.

A bright one

New WFMT program brings fresh, young and hopefully hip perspective to classical music

Hoity-toity, pedantic or snooty. Right or wrong, these stereotypes are sometimes associated with classical-music programming on the radio.

And it’s just such perceptions — or misperceptions — that the hosts of “Sounds Classical,” a new Friday evening program on WFMT-FM (98.7) beginning Dec. 9, want to dispel. The show, featuring Kristina Lynn, 31, and LaRob K. Rafael, 29, is meant to offer a fresh, down-to-earth and, yes, fun, approach to classical music at the same time as it expands the very idea of what the genre can be.

“I think we can all agree,” Lynn said, “that sometimes, if you’re not in the classical-music world, it can seem hard to reach or unapproachable in certain ways. You associate it with these grand music halls, these intellectual things and these bigger-than-life composers who are sometimes not very relatable.”

Rather than focusing on Beethoven’s life span or the number of Mozart piano concertos, Rafael wants to explore the emotional aspects of classical music: “How do we feel when we hear this piece? Why do we like playing this piece on the radio? What does it evoke?”

LaRob K. Rafael and Kristina Lynn co-host “Sounds Classical” on WFMT-FM.

LaRob K. Rafael and Kristina Lynn co-host “Sounds Classical” on WFMT-FM.

Mike Grittani

In conceiving a new show for WFMT, said General Manager George Preston, the station wanted to present classical music from a younger perspective and provide more exposure for some of the station’s newer in-house talent.

Lynn and Rafael emerged as ideal choices as the hosts, Preston said, because they are “super-creative” and classically trained musicians — Lynn a trumpeter and Rafael a singer — and because of their “wonderful chemistry” and curious minds. Both joined WFMT’s announcing team in 2020. Lynn is also the station’s operations manager, and Rafael serves as founder and artistic director of Hearing in Color, a Chicago organization devoted to sharing music and composers who have been historically excluded.

While WFMT is constantly updating its musical repertory and presenting varied short-run series and specials, an inaugural show like “Sounds Classical” is a rarity.

“It doesn’t happen all that often, to be honest,” Preston said. “To have a new, weekly hourlong program, it’s a pretty big deal.”

Kyle MacMillan has more on “Sounds Classical” and its hosts here.

From the press box

Your daily question☕

Growing up, what was the best part about your Chicago neighborhood?

Send us an email at and we might feature your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

Yesterday we asked you: What is the quintessential, most-Chicago restaurant you know?

Here’s what some of you said...

“Exchequer Pub at Wabash near Jackson. Not just for the best deep dish pizza, but also the Capone history of the location.” — Eric Levy

“The Berghoff. About as Chicago as it gets. Liquor license no. 1 says it all.” — Jimmy Davey

“Italian Village on Monroe. My mom worked for the FBI in the early ‘50s as a switchboard operator after high school. She dated a few agents who’d take her there for lunch. She’s 93 and still remembers the place!” — Carmie Daugird Callobre

“Uno’s! The original Uno’s! Growing up my aunt and uncle had box seats for White Sox night games and I was able to go to some of the games with them if they did not entertain clients. Following the game, we went to Uno’s for deep dish pizza. If I did not go to school the next morning, no more Uno’s! You guessed it, I crawled out of bed so I could go for pizza after the games.” — Diane Keizer

“Manny’s. They have the best corn beef in Chicago. I live in Alaska now but I miss Chicago food. Chicago has the best food in America.” — Linda Murry

“Legendary steakhouses such as Gibson’s and Gene & Georgetti’s, as they have a lot of history with special dignitaries and celebrities paying a visit. If you want really good steak, I would visit these two restaurants.” — Maurice Snell

“I’m going with Gene & Georgetti’s (the original). I’ve gone there since the early 70s. Back in the day it was common to see Chicago pols eating there including the first Mayor Daley. It still has that old Chicago feel about it.” — Al Kabelis

“Miller’s Pub. They have late-night service for concert and opera goes with a great menu and delicious, eclectic style food and the helpings are plentiful. Service is the best in Chicago” — Mary Louise Siegmund Jenkins

“White Palace Grill. Because it’s a classic Chicago diner experience from 1939. The loss of the chalk board menu was a shame. But it’s still there!” — Michael Vicari

“R.J. Grunts —it has been around forever and had the one of the first salad bars in the U.S. It’s right by the zoo and is family-friendly, lending itself to nostalgia. Photos of every server who’s ever worked there decorate the walls. Either that or Billy Goat Tavern.” — Elle Qohen

Thanks for reading the Chicago Sun-Times Afternoon Edition.Got a story you think we missed? Email us here.

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