The POAH Chicago office has issued a progess report on its multi-year redevelopment activities since receiving a $30.5 million HUD Choice Neighborhoods Grant in 2011 that has generated close to $400 million in community investments on the South Side of Chicago.
"Accelerating Community Renewal - In Woodlawn and Beyond: 2016 Progress Report" reviews the revitalization that has created hundred of new affordable apartments, mixed-use buildings,economic development and vibrant community life. The changes POAH has initiated in the Woodlawn neighborhood are widely recognized as a model for renewing neighborhoods across the country. Evidence of the renewed vitality of the neighborhood can be seen in Woodlawn's population and employment growth - the first such increases in 40 years - at the same time crime has been declining.
"This is the story of how POAH, with community, government and institutional partners, turned a $30.5 million federal grant into $400 million of investments that produced good jobs, housing, additional resources and hope for a brighter future," said POAH Chicago Vice President William Eager. "We believe the story of Woodlawn’s renewal offers solutions to challenges confronting cities across America."
In addition to affordable and mixed-income rentals and For Sale housing, POAH built the Woodlawn Resource Center that provides career training, job placement and a wide range of community services. MetroSquash, the renowned youth center, offers year-round recreation and mentoring programs in a facility next to the Resource Center. Other neighborhood and institutional investors were also active including the University of Chicago.
Last year Chicago received word that the highly anticipated Obama Presidential Center would be built in nearby Jackson Park. ”The Obama Center will accelerate interest in the area from people looking for quality housing and a vibrant community," said Eager who predicts the Center will spur the building of dozens of more new homes over the next several years.