top of page

Pilsen Housing Cooperative 

about / ¿quiénes somos?

The Pilsen Housing Cooperative (PIHCO) is a registered not-for-profit. We are democratically controlled by our residents/owners. Currently, all PIHCO households have a seat on our board of directors. Our Board also consists of four additional neighbors who helped get the cooperative up and running. As PIHCO continues to add buildings and residents, we will transition to an elected board of directors. We invite you to get to know some of our board members below.

PIHCO es una organización sin fines de lucro. Hacemos decisiones democraticamente. Actualmente, todos los hogares de PIHCO tienen un voto en nuestra junta directiva. La junta también cuenta con cuatro miembros adicionales que ayudaron a poner en marcha la cooperativa. A medida que PIHCO continúe agregando edificios y residentes, haremos la transición a una junta directiva electa. Conoce a algunos de los miembros de nuestra junta a continuación....

Amanda Cortes

Amanda Cortés attended St. Pius V and spent her formative years hanging out on “La 18.” She is the daughter of Mexican immigrants whose activism helped form her social consciousness. Amanda is a cultural worker, mediator and advocate for social justice. She helps grassroots art groups with strategic planning and is a member of the Chicago ACT Collective. She’s married to artist Eric J. Garcia; they live in Pilsen.

“The Pilsen Housing Cooperative is an opportunity for working class artists and families to create an intentional and culturally relevant community. It is a beautiful and personal way to transform ideas on resistance and displacement into action.”   

Hector Duarte

Artist Hector Duarte was first drawn to Pilsen in 1978 by the murals being painted here. In 1985 he moved to the neighborhood to contribute to that tradition; his murals reflect Mexican culture and deal with issues like identity and borders. He's raised three children in Pilsen and Michoacan, Mexico.

"Los mexicanos en Pilsen hemos creado un ambiente que refleja la vida de un pueblito con sabor mexicano. Debemos defenderlo, quedándonos aquí."

Laura Nussbaum-Barberena

Laura's life has been split between Chicago, Central America, and Seattle. A cultural anthropologist, she is interested in using story-telling and community histories to support cooperative development. She is married to artist Carlos Barberena; the two moved from Nicaragua in 2008. Since then, they have developed deep ties to people in Pilsen. 

“PIHCO to us is a continuation of the community organizing that characterizes Pilsen and so many Chicago neighborhoods.”

Carlyn So

Carlyn is active in Chicago’s cooperative housing scene, using her background in web design and architecture to explain and promote co-ops and connect people. She has a passion for design strategy and community development, especially affordable housing, and believes shared property ownership can reduce real estate speculation and increase human interaction. Carlyn grew up in Bridgeport and is working to start a co-op there.

“PIHCO is an alternative to the two dominant options of renting and private ownership, and Pilsen is a perfect place for this resident-controlled strategy.”

Gabriel Villa

Artist Gabriel Villa has lived in the neighborhood since 1997. Originally from El Paso, Texas, Gabriel immediately connected with the artists and families in no-frills Pilsen. He’s worked as director of Yollocalli Arts Reach and has taught, exhibited, and created art projects across Chicago and beyond, with Pilsen as his base.

“The co-op is just a natural progression for me. I want to do something to give back and put my money where my mouth is, and assist in people being able to stay here.”

We have received significant help and support from our neighbors...


...and we are grateful for critical early and/or ongoing assistance from: 

Marta Ayala, Advisor on Community

Charles Daas, Cooperative Housing Advisor

Mark Fick, Shared Capital Cooperative, Cooperative Housing Advisor

Landon Bone Baker Architects

Logan Square Cooperative (especially Mark Smithivas), Cooperative Housing Advisors

Linda Lutton, Research

John McDermott, Advisor on Housing and Tax Policy

Thanks to the Crossroads Fund for a $3,000 Technical Assistance Grant, which will help us build a strong foundation for PIHCO. 

Thanks to the University of Chicago Law School's Housing Initiative Clinic at the Mandel Legal Aid Clinic for pro-bono legal services. 

bottom of page