Roseland is a working class community located on the far south side of Chicago. Barack Obama got his start as community organizer in this neighborhood, and its greatest assets are long-time residents dedicated to its vitality. The community’s name comes from the rosebushes that graced homes, lawns, and parks in the area during its founding by Dutch settlers in the 1840s. Roseland is also just west of the historic Pullman district, built in the 1880s to house the workers of George M. Pullman’s railroad car empire. For many years this self-contained community was considered an ideal place to work and raise a family. As with many inner city communities, Roseland later experienced tough times due to a decline in blue-collar jobs, competition with suburban shopping malls, and neighborhood disinvestment. Neighborhood Housing Services, along with local community organizations, non-profits, churches, business leaders and the City of Chicago, is working diligently to improve Roseland’s housing stock and re-establish Roseland as an economically stable, healthy community.
Today, Roseland boasts a number of strong community institutions that enrich the lives of its residents. The local Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep High School received a silver medal ranking in the 2010 U.S. News and World Report evaluation of the best high schools in the nation. Roseland is also home to a top notch four- year university (Chicago State) and a strong community college (Olive Harvey) that provide community residents ample opportunities for higher education. Roseland Community Hospital continues to meet the health care needs of Roseland residents, ranking fifth in the nation in pulmonary care. The recently-opened Ray and Joan Kroc Community Center (one of the largest Salvation Army centers in the country) attracts over 3.000 visitors per day from all across the city and suburbs. The community will continue to expand with Pullman Park, a 10-year mixed-development project that ultimately will include a new school, new restaurants and stores, a new hotel and 300 units of new housing.