Category Archives: Lifestyle

Chicago: Local Quality of Life

Chicago is a wonderful place to live, featuring fabulous beaches (and the Chicago River), great culture (the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Contemporary Art), impressive educational institutes (Northwestern University and the University of Chicago) county fairs and so much more.

But for the regular man/woman in the street, what are some of the issues that are being confronted?  Here we look at how the region deals with the following: recidivism, housing and health.

A recent report published by the Metropolitan Planning Council in conjunction with the Illinois Justice Project has pointed out a practical way of decreasing recidivism.  It found that since so many of these programs focus on jobs, there is a lack of attention given to another hugely important area for returning prisoners:  housing. The report is suggesting a greater focus on this matter.

As such, the report has assembled over a dozen proposals that could assist government officials in this task and save the state of Chicago $100+m per year. Given that the current recidivism figures are close to 40 percent this is a huge issue.  The report found that a large number of these individuals returning to prison were struggling with housing.  According to co-author of the Re-Entry Housing Issues in Illinois report, King Harris:

“The discussion around preventing recidivism is always focused on job training for people and somewhat on their health needs. Rarely is the conversation focused on housing and we feel that is the missing link.” 

Another issue for Chicagoans is the reduction in their housing value.  The weakest rate of growth in over 42 months was reported in May of this year.  According to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices, there was a miniscule 1.6 percent growth in the value local single family homes.  compared to the nation average, overall home prices developed less than half the 3.4 percent rate. one reason cited for this is slow job growth which again adds to recidivism issues.

In better news though, healthcare could be seen to be booming, or at least, hospitals.  Chicago’s Northwestern Memorial Hospital was ranked number 10 out of nearly 5,000 US hospitals in the 2019-20 Best Hospitals study. furthermore, according to a recent article by Lynne Marek:

“When it comes to health care, the Chicago area has a cottage industry of private-equity firms that invest in that sector, also including Linden Capital Partners, Waud Capital and Water Street Healthcare Partners, among others. The city developed the niche as professionals from health care giants Abbott and Baxter moved into investing.”