Chicago Southwest is fortunate to have a solid, affordable housing stock, made up mostly of single family bungalows. For years, Chicago Southwest was targeted by sub-prime lenders who preyed on many first time homebuyers in the community. Even before the financial crisis of 2007-08, Chicago Southwest was suffering a foreclosure crisis. Working with Neighborhood Housing Services, Greater Southwest Development Corporation, and others, SWOP helped over 625 families keep their homes through our anti-foreclosure work. Unfortunately, many others could not be saved due to the high volume of foreclosures.
In 2013 there were nearly 700 vacant properties in the Reclaiming Southwest Chicago Target Area. SWOP and partner Brinshore Development are purchasing and rehabbing buildings which will then be rented or resold.
The SWOP/Brinshore Reclaiming Southwest Chicago effort seeks to acquire, rehab and reoccupy 100 vacant units within a 3-square mile target area. We have focused our efforts in and around the Chicago Lawn Micro Market Recovery Program (MMRP) area. Over the past three years our work has been responsible for reducing vacant properties in the MMRP from 80 units to 25. To date, SWOP has raised over $11 million for the Reclaiming Southwest Chicago initiative.
We completed our first building in April of 2016, a multi-family property located at 6157 S. Washtenaw. The 13 renovated units reactivate a building that was a blight in the community for nearly 10 years. Also in early April of 2016, we began work on our second phase, a 30 unit scattered site project of nine properties. SWOP has also begun acquiring single family homes for a home ownership phase.
Buyers and renters will come from a pool of people SWOP is creating; most of these people will be from local institutions or community residents. SWOP offers workshops for those in the pool wanting to live in the community.