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The Chicago Community Trust Outstanding Community Plan Award

Preservation of Affordable Housing Chicago for Woodlawn, A Choice Neighborhood

In Woodlawn, collaborative community development partnerships and investments are having a dramatic impact on economic vitality and quality of life. The population has increased 15% – the first increase in decades – new jobs are being created, and the number of vacant properties and violent crimes have plummeted.

The foundation for change was laid when Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH) came to the community in 2008 at the request of tenants, neighborhood residents and public agencies to accomplish the demolition and replacement of Grove Parc Plaza.

The catalyst for comprehensive revitalization came in 2011 when POAH, in partnership with the City of Chicago, was awarded a $30.5 million Choice Neighborhoods Grant by HUD which challenged them to use the funds and redevelopment of housing as a springboard for community-wide renewal.

While the goal set for POAH by HUD was the achievement of $210 million in investment, by the end of 2017, POAH has leveraged more than $410 million in new housing, retail, institutional and civic investment through their work.

“We knew that by taking down the foreboding old Grove Parc and replacing it with well-designed mixed-income housing, we would have a positive impact,” said Bill Eager, Vice President, POAH Chicago. “That said, the results surpassed our expectations – with long-standing partners, like the City, University of Chicago, and many for-profit and non-profit groups making investments that both reflect and increase confidence in this great community,” added Eager.

The result of this investment has been striking. It includes new senior and family housing buildings, neighborhood amenities like MetroSquash, offering year-round recreation and mentoring programs; and The Woodlawn Resource Center, providing job placement and training services. Additional investments are being leveraged from community partners like the University of Chicago, Greenline Development, KMW Communities, Robust Coffee, and others.

Additional commercial and residential opportunities are underway in Woodlawn, including the Obama Presidential Center; Woodlawn Station, a new mixed-used Transit Oriented Development; and a Jewel-Osco, the neighborhood’s first new grocery store in 50 years. And in early 2018, POAH delivered Trianon Lofts, the first new market-rate apartment constructed in Woodlawn in decades.

For what has taken place over the last several years in Woodlawn – community involvement, collaboration, and partnership that has forged a new template for revitalizing neighborhoods across the country, POAH is the recipient of the Outstanding Community Plan Award.