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Chicago’s iconic affordable housing advocate Mattie Butler honored

June 15, 2022

Mattie Butler & others outside building

Woodlawn was once neglected, disinvested, and considered a dangerous south side Chicago area beset by violence, and filled with at-risk, in need of repair properties. But a determined, fierce neighborhood advocate, Mattie Butler, stood tall, confronted, challenged, and changed the prevailing deceptive narrative with her community building and investment efforts. Throughout her life, the indomitable warrior fought for social equality and housing affordability for marginalized residents.

Originally raised in a close-knit family in the Cabrini-Green housing development, with her parents and four siblings, she learned early the power of unity in action. The grandchild of Mississippi sharecroppers never imagined becoming a pivotal influence to uplifting Chicago’s under-resourced south side Woodlawn neighborhood, while preserving affordability for local residents.

“I’ve been blessed to use my skills and partnerships to help revitalize and rebuild low- and moderate-income areas in Chicago, serving impacted individuals, working families and seniors who most needed the foundations of strong, viable communities,” said Butler.

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