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The Resurrection Project: Driehaus Outstanding Non-Profit Real Estate Project

For creating much-needed quality, affordable housing and long-term renewal in Back of the Yards, The Resurrection Project is the 2014 winner of the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Outstanding Non-Profit Neighborhood Real Estate Project.

Located near the site of Chicago’s famed stockyards, Back of the Yards is a multi-cultural neighborhood with a long tradition of organizing and self-improvement. Known for its many assets and tightknit community, in recent years the neighborhood has faced increasing challenges: an aging housing stock, increased foreclosures and a rise in poverty and crime.

The Resurrection Project (TRP) set out to address these challenges in 2009 when federal funds became available to address the nation’s foreclosure crisis. An active partner to the neighborhood since the mid-1990s, TRP was aware of the scope of the challenge but also knew that the resilience of the community boded well for recovery.

With a $13.8 million grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), TRP worked with local parishes and organizations, including the Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council, to identify, acquire and redevelop 40 foreclosed and vacant properties throughout the neighborhood. Ten buildings in extremely poor condition were demolished. The remainder required extensive gut rehab, including the replacement of electrical, mechanical and plumbing systems. Fifteen buildings were renovated as affordable for-sale homes, including 11 two-flats and four single-family homes. Another 15 properties were redone as rentals, including two-flat, three-flat, four-flat and six-flat buildings. To complement its rehab efforts, TRP provided financial literacy classes and homeownership workshops to strengthen families and the community during a time of change.

While TRP was busy serving as a real estate broker, financier and community builder, the revitalization of the buildings grew contagious. As blighted properties were transformed into quality homes, neighbors on surrounding blocks began fixing up their own houses. Today Back of the Yards residents enjoy a renewed stake in their communities.

The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for OutstandingNon-Profit Neighborhood Real Estate Project is given to a non-profit community development organization for a real estate project that meets community needs, involved local residents in the planning process, overcame obstacles and demonstrated creativity in its design and financing.