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Enrich the vibrancy of West Side communities by investing in people and local businesses.

Due to the current and historical effects of racial discrimination such as redlining, predatory lending practices, and general disinvestment, West Side residents have not had the same access to economic advancement as other Chicago residents. A lack of local jobs and opportunities for economic advancement have inhibited residents from retaining money in their local communities. Despite these challenges, West Side neighborhoods also have a strong and vital small business presence, demonstrating great opportunity for economic vitality in the area. Many locally-founded non-profit and community-based organizations work to fill these economic gaps as well. Because we know that economic stability and positive health outcomes are inextricably linked, many of our initiatives focus on the economic wellbeing of the west side.
WSU promotes economic vitality through strengthening local hiring, purchasing, and investments in West Side workers and businesses.
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anchor institution employees are participating in the Medical Assistant pathways program
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West Side business owners and non-profit staff attended information sessions to learn about applying for WSUs small business and non-profit grants
In our metrics dashboard, we are tracking:
Household income is strikingly different between West Side communities and the loop. Median household income in the loop ranges from 1.5 to 4.5 times greater than the household income in West Side neighborhoods. This measure shows the median household income in dollars adjusted for inflation.
Unemployment demonstrates the great need for employment opportunities among West Side residents, with unemployment rates nearing 20% in some West Side neighborhoods. This measure shows the percent of residents age 16 and older in the civilian labor force who are unemployed.
The poverty rate illustrates the pervasiveness of the income and wealth gap across West Side neighborhoods. This measure shows the percent of all residents who are living below the federal poverty level.
Photo of West Side United Program Manager, Stephanie Gomez.
Stephanie Gomez
Program Manager, Economic Vitality
To learn more about supporting economic vitality in our 10 communities, please email Stephanie at: sgomez@westsideunited.org
WSU Program Manager Rachael Wilson
Rachael Wilson
Program Manager, Economic Vitality
To learn more about supporting economic vitality in our 10 communities, please email Rachael at: rwilson@westsideunited.org