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Collaboration Spurs Success of Renew Woodlawn

July 31, 2017

by Community Investment Corporation

published in Real Returns: CIC's Investor Newsletter

In just 18 months, Renew Woodlawn has helped 26 first time homebuyers purchase single family and two-flat homes in the Woodlawn community.  24 of these homes were vacant eyesores before the start of the program. 

Led by Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago (NHS) and CIC, with funding provided by Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH) and in partnership with the city of Chicago Department of Planning and Development, the Renew Woodlawn Homeownership Program launched in May 2016 with the goal of re-establishing a strong homebuyer market in Woodlawn.  To date, seven of the 26 new homeowners are long-time renters in Woodlawn, and the rehab of the 24 vacant buildings has resulted in 38 new units in the community.

CIC's Role

Renew Woodlawn takes a multi-pronged approach to helping new homeowners.  NHS provides financing and counseling for first-time homebuyers, as well as technical assistance for those who manage their own property rehab.  CIC, through its acquisitions program, has acquired properties to provide a pipeline for the program.  CIC also works with developers who rehab vacant properties to sell to new owner occupants.

To date, four properties have been fully rehabbed by developers and sold to homeowners, and an additional nine are currently being rehabbed and will be sold later in the summer.  In addition, CIC has sold five homes directly to homebuyers, who have performed their own rehab.

A charming greystone on the 6500 block of South Eberhart in West Woodlawn was acquired by CIC for Renew Woodlawn. Benevolent Housing, a nonprofit created by Pearson Realty, rehabbed the home over four months, and it was acquired by first-time homeowner Jeanne Franks in April. (pictured above)

Long-term Commitment to Woodlawn

CIC's participation in Renew Woodlawn follows years of work in the community. In addition to investing more than $15 million in Woodlawn through the multifamily loan program, CIC has coordinated redevelopment efforts in West Woodlawn for the City of Chicago's Micro Market Recovery Program (MMRP). Under MMRP, 111 vacant buildings with 507 units have been rehabbed and reoccupied in West Woodlawn since 2012.

"As an active lender in Woodlawn for many years we are delighted to be part of such an important program that is rebuilding and strengthening the community," said Jack Markowski, president and CEO of CIC.

Renew Woodlawn is part of overall neighborhood revitalization efforts initiated by POAH with its acquisition in 2008 of the former Grove Parc Plaza and a HUD Choice Neighborhoods grant awarded in 2011. The Renew Woodlawn program is funded by HUD, the National Foreclosure Settlement Awards through the Office of the State Attorney General, and the City of Chicago.

The Renew Woodlawn target area is bounded by 60th St. on the north, 67th St. on the south, King Drive on the west and Stony Island Ave. on the east.

Article republished with permission from Community Investment Corporation.