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Non-Profit Neighborhood Development Group of the Year: Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation

For 35 years, Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation has worked to build new homes and refurbish deteriorating housing. Bickerdike has developed 919 affordable units, including 145 affordable single-family homes and owner occupied-flats. Bickerdike now manages 889 affordable rental and co-op units. To create jobs for area residents, Bickerdike also started the Humboldt Construction Co.

The past two years have been some of Bickerdike's most active. La Paz, which includes 44 units of affordable rental housing, is now complete. Seventeen new affordable homes for first-time homebuyers were also sold. This past year Bickerdike also celebrated the completion of the extensive rehab of Nuestro Hogar, a two-building, 31-unit affordable cooperative project. And Bickerdike acquired financing to renovate the Harold Washington Unity Co-op, an 87-unit multiple site project, which will start this year.

Over the years, Bickerdike has had a dramatic impact on quality of life in the communities it serves and on the city as a whole. Bickerdike continues to be a leader among community development corporations in developing a vision of development that includes affordable housing, community involvement and jobs for low-income residents. Bickerdike's focus on community involvement in the planning process helps strengthen the community. Its emphasis on economic development also addresses the need for additional job opportunities in the neighborhoods it serves.

Although Bickerdike was created to address a housing crisis fueled by abandonment and arson, the organization faces a far different challenge today. The redevelopment and gentrification of the community in recent years have driven up property values and rents, forcing many longtime residents to seek more affordable housing elsewhere. This pressure has given a new sense of urgency to Bickerdike's mission to provide affordable quality housing.