Located on Chicago’s Far South Side, the Roseland Community Area has struggled with disinvestment since the early 1970s when the community’s manufacturing base eroded. Although some pockets of Roseland have significant issues with crime and abandoned buildings, a variety of existing partnerships and initiatives have been formed to stabilize the community and redevelop vacant homes within the neighborhood. The majority of residents in Roseland are committed, long-time homeowners. However, like many inner city minority communities, recent economic issues have hit Roseland hard, including the foreclosure crisis. The neighborhood is comprised primarily of African-American (96%) residents and struggles with unemployment (19.7%). The Roseland community is a Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC), with approximately 25% of residents over the age of 65, compared to 10% citywide.
Roseland is classified as a medically underserved area by the Health Resources and Service Administration. Roseland residents face a number of health disparities, including hypertension and obesity. In Roseland the majority patients seeking treatment are uninsured or Medicaid eligible. Roseland, which is next door to the traditional heavy manufacturing community of Pullman, suffers from an epidemic of asthma and asthma related ailments. Despite these complications, the Roseland Community Hospital has continually operated in the neighborhood since 1924. The District wa created to help sustain the Hospital and improve health care for nearly 250,000 resident of the City of Chicago and near south suburbs. For most of the residents, the Hospital is the only hospital within a five-mile radius.
One of the Hospital’s first priorities is the creation of the new Center for Breathing Easy which will help combat the community’s high asthma rates. The Center for Breathing Easy will help to service the needs of t nearly 30% of the children in the Roseland Area who have asthma. Between 2011-2013, Roseland’s emergency room took in 22% of all asthma-related ER visits in CHicago according to the Mobile C.A.R.E. Foundation. Moreover, Roseland spends more than $1.2 million annually providing asthma-related care to children during preventable emergency visits. The Center for Easy Breathing will also provide outpatient care of people dealing with other forms of respiratory issues other than asthma, including smoke cessation services.