West Side

      Prayer Points

  • Pray against violence in the community, which has seen an increase in recent years due to domestic violence, drugs, gang activity, and school closures. In fact, Austin has become known as one of Chicago’s most dangerous neighborhoods.


  • Pray for the many single-parent families, especially the struggles many women face who are left raising families by themselves. Pray for a stronger commitment to family.


  • In 2013, the Chicago Public School System started closing down almost fifty schools in Chicago. Several of these schools are in Austin. Pray for stability within the community during this time of transition in the school system.


  • Pray for the various churches in Austin to reach out to the community by getting involved in people’s lives and addressing both physical and spiritual needs.

Neighborhood Background

Henry Austin purchased 470 acres in 1865 for a temperance settlement named “Austinville” in which home ownership, tree-lined parkways, and gracious living would be the status quo. By 1920, Austin had become one of Chicago’s best-served commuter neighborhoods.


Germans, Scandinavians, Irish, and Italian families settled and built churches and homes, but fled during the 1960s when the demographics began to change dramatically. By 1980, Austin’s population was predominantly African American. Like many other West Side communities, the neighborhood experienced the tragedy of systemic racism and white flight through housing disinvestment, vacancy, demolition, and the loss of jobs and commerce.


It is currently known as one of Chicago’s roughest neighborhoods, stricken with illegal drug and gang activity. Yet, there is hope for the future as Austin experiences signs of recovery through neighborhood churches and organizations.

      Ethnic Breakdown

  • Asian (0.4%)
  • Black or African American (84.7%)
  • Hispanic or Latino (8.3%)
  • White (5.9%)


information courtesy of Moody Publishers

"Chicago Neighborhood Prayer Guide" by Dr. John Fuder with Elizabeth Koenig