Lawndale Restoration Apartments was comprised of 1,240 apartment units in 100 buildings scattered across the west side of Chicago in the communities of Lawndale and Garfield Park. Most of these buildings were small, walk-up, three story buildings. The Department of Housing and Urban Development held the $47,000,000 mortgage for the project.
Over the years, this development had problems due to the large number of units scattered geographically over a 238 square block area, increasing tenant vandalism, deferred maintenance and the overall decline and deterioration of these communities. The increasing financial trouble of the development eventually led to a foreclosure by HUD in 2006. HUD worked closely with the City of Chicago to create a plan to revitalize the Lawndale buildings and safeguard tenants’ access to affordable housing. The City of Chicago identified small, neighborhood developers who were familiar with the problems surrounding the development. The day of the foreclosure, HUD took title to the development, conveyed the properties to the City of Chicago, who then re-conveyed to the 23 different developers who had previously been screened and selected for new ownership and committed to maintaining the affordability of these properties. HUD also provide subsidy to the residents, who are all very low income. Many of the residents will have the choice of remaining in their existing building, or moving to other locations, if they so desire.
Approximately five years later, the local developers are 90% complete with the redevelopment of the existing buildings, creating vastly improved places for low-income tenants to call home.
The residents of the development, the surrounding community and the City are benefiting from the visible signs of renewal.