In Chicago’s Woodlawn community there is currently a high concentration of HUD project-based Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) units as well as tenant-based HCV families families residing in investor properties. Combined with this is the high number of foreclosures that we are experiencing. These factors as well as the lower median income for families living in Woodlawn cause our blocks to be more vulnerable to the spike in violent crimes and gang activity that we are faced with on a daily basis.
We are strongly opposed to the off-site housing development component of the Grove Parc redevelopment plan. We firmly believe that the current plans by the Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH) to concentrate 51 HUD project-based HCV units in blighted sections of our neighborhood will undoubtedly lead to further decline in these census tracts. As a case in point, POAH (the developer for the Grove Parc redevelopment) desires to assign project-based subsidy to 50% of large (2 bedroom & 3 bedroom) units in multi-family courtway apartment buildings that are clustered on 3 corners along 62nd Street. They refer to this series of properties on 62nd Street as the “Westwood development”. This strategy does not serve as a catalyst for mixed income housing on blocks in West Woodlawn. The Westwood buildings are the largest residential properties on 3 specific streets – 61st/62nd & Rhodes, 61st/62nd & Vernon and 61st/62nd & Eberhart. POAH proposes to over-saturate the corner buildings that anchor the block with very low-income families. And it does not consider the high number of investor properties with tenant-based HCV subsidies currently living on these blocks.
Our Neighbors and I propose that HUD institute the requested moratorium on new project-based HCV units and tenant based HCV moves in Woodlawn throughout the implementation of the Grove Parc redevelopment plan. We recommend that HUD restrict the project-based HCV subsidy for the POAH “Westwood development” to no more than 20% of the units in each of the courtway building properties on the corners along 62nd Street.
Please help us change the current course that HUD, the City of Chicago and POAH is taking in implementing its Grove Parc redevelopment plans. It seems that they are currently making strides to create a new brand of the "highrise/midrise" projects that the Chicago Housing Authority recently finished dismantling.