Biblical Procession Planned in Protest for Lathrop Homes Saturday

DNAinfo/Serena Dai

LOGAN SQUARE — Organizers with the Logan Square Neighborhood Association will gather with teens and community members Saturday to reenact a Biblical trail through the Lathrop Homes.The procession will pass more than 750 vacant units left in limbo at Lathrop, according to the association’s housing and land use director, John McDermott.

"For more than a decade, hundreds of units at the Lathrop Homes have been left vacant, instead of being made available to families in need," Lissette Castaneda, housing co-chairwoman for the Logan Square Neighborhood Association, said in a statement. "Now the proposed plans for Lathrop would compound this injustice by eliminating 525 public housing units with no commitment to replace them."

Current and former residents of the Lathrop Homes are expected to join the procession, along with religious and community leaders. The event will begin at New Life Community Church, 2958 N. Damen Ave., at 2 p.m. Saturday before heading to the Lathrop Homes around 2900 N. Clybourn Ave.

The procession, called Las Posadas after the Spanish word for "inn," is a pre-Christmas tradition in parts of Latin America. Leaders said Saturday's event will symbolize the plight of Chicago families left in the cold by Chicago Housing Authority policies. 

Young people dressed as Mary and Joseph will lead a procession through the mostly vacant development, reenacting the biblical story of Bethlehem, where Mary and Joseph searched for room an an inn before the first Christmas, according to the neighborhood association. They will stop at several doors to seek shelter, but at each door they will be turned away, until the final door, where they will be admitted and the community will celebrate.

CHA promised to rehabilitate the Lathrop Homes as public housing, beginning in the year 2001, but the rehab never began and a freeze on leasing has remained in place ever since. 

Like Mary and Joseph, low- and moderate-income families are being turned away from the Lathrop Homes, according to the neighborhood association.

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