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Community redevelopment of Chicago’s Woodlawn neighborhood nets $400 million in… | Your money

Chicago, March 07, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Chicago, IL — New research shows that more than a decade of investment in Chicago’s Woodlawn neighborhood by Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH), a nonprofit developer focused on the mission, has attracted more than $400 million in federal, state, and municipal funding, as well as additional resources from various private and nonprofit partners. The study reveals important outcomes for neighborhoods, including greater racial and income diversity.

The brief, From the Ground Up: Housing as a Catalyst for Community-Driven Redevelopment of Chicago’s Majority-Black Woodlawn Neighborhood, led by Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) researchers Dr. Amy Khare and Dr. Alex Curley , with Dr. April Jackson of the University of Illinois at Chicago, focuses on household outcomes, neighborhood shifts and investment trends in Woodlawn. According to the study, the community-driven change initiative has resulted in “strong partnerships, public and private investments, preserved and increased housing, new commercial and recreational facilities, transportation-oriented development improvements in community and better quality community resources”.

The main conclusions of the study reveal that:

Median household incomes have increased, including incomes of low-income households.

The study and an accompanying brief are rooted in 2011, when HUD awarded one of its first Choice Neighborhoods Initiative grants to POAH and the City of Chicago in the amount of $30.5 million, launching a neighborhood revitalization effort centered on the redevelopment of a crumbling 504. Affordable property (Grove Parc Plaza) in the heart of Woodlawn. From there, POAH and the city have raised more than $400 million from nearly 30 sources to build housing and bring amenities to the neighborhood. For example, POAH built the Woodlawn Resource Center, an 8,000 square foot community

employment space and financial supports for Woodlawn residents; attracted a new Jewel-Osco supermarket; and supported the development of MetroSquash, a sports and educational center.

The new investments – to date, nearly 1,000 mixed-income apartments and 90,000 square feet of new retail and community space – have helped redefine key blocks and attract further investment to the neighborhood. In particular, the reconstruction of Grove Parc Plaza’s original footprint, the renovation of foreclosed properties and the construction of new homes on vacant land have made a powerful contribution.

While the subdivisions have helped attract businesses to the area, POAH has strategically invested in retaining and attracting black entrepreneurs to create local wealth. Another cornerstone of this effort—and a key lesson for practitioners—was a strategy to build community consensus at the resident and neighborhood club level, even among stakeholders initially opposed to POAH’s plans. By hiring a liaison and through quality property development and management, POAH has built a broad base of neighborhood support.

According to Dr. Amy Khare, lead author and research director of the National Mixed-Income Communities Initiative at CWRU, “The work undertaken by POAH and its partners is a unique example as it illuminates how community reinvestment in black majority can produce meaningful change that benefits current residents.Woodlawn’s trajectory is relevant to many neighborhoods in Chicago and across the United States where movements to achieve economic, housing and social justice seek to address the hardships caused by anti-black racism, divestment, and exclusion by government and private entities over the past decades.There is hope for racially equitable development.

“Over the past two decades, the Woodlawn community stands out from most of Chicago’s south and west neighborhoods in that it has attracted financial resources and policy innovations focused on equitable development,” adds Tony Smith, vice-president Senior Chair, Community. Development Banking, PNC Bank which has been an active lender to Woodlawn developments. “Building on POAH’s example, we have the opportunity to end the equation of development and displacement of low-income residents. Our goal is to ensure that they can benefit from the change and ultimately transfer the wealth to the next generation. We believe that these bold new ideas and experiments are essential catalysts for social change. »

Drawing on lessons from Woodlawn, Khare and fellow researcher Dr. April Jackson advise that, as was done with the Choice Neighborhoods program in Woodlawn, federal funding should be location-based and encourage concurrent investments. non-governmental entities for housing, commerce and institutional developments while state and federal funding should be used to ensure affordability and encourage local ownership of homes and businesses to increase individual wealth in the community. family and community.


About OPAH:

POAH is a non-profit, mission-driven affordable housing developer, owner and operator with offices in Chicago, Boston and Washington DC. POAH’s mission is to preserve and manage affordable rental housing to provide stability, hope and economic security to income families. POAH owns and operates approximately 12,000 affordable housing units at more than 120 properties in 11 states and the District of Columbia. ( )

About CWRU’s National Mixed-Income Communities Initiative:

The National Mixed-Income Communities Initiative conducts research and technical assistance in Cleveland and across the United States and Canada, focused exclusively on promoting urban equity and inclusion. Our current strategic priority is to help advance anti-racism housing and community development through healing-centered, human-centered approaches to neighborhood revitalization.


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Maria Plati Affordable Housing Preservation 617-699-0079 [email protected]

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