Woodlawn Station in Chicago, IL, has won a 2021 Charles L. Edson Tax Credit Excellence Award in the Large Metropolitan Area category.
Woodlawn Station, developed by Preservation of Affordable Housing, Inc. (POAH), is the final phase of a 12-year revitalization plan for South Cottage Grove Avenue in the Woodlawn neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago, IL. The property provides affordable housing in a 4-story development with beautifully designed and sustainable architecture, providing 70 homes to low-income and working families in the Woodlawn area. Development was financed using the 9 percent Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit), and investment for the property was provided by JP Morgan Chase.
In 2011, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development selected POAH and the City of Chicago as one of the first recipients of a Choice Neighborhoods Initiative grant, designed to help underinvested communities. The vision for transforming Woodlawn emerged from the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) New Communities Program, an initiative to support comprehensive community development in 16 Chicago neighborhoods.
POAH engaged various local stakeholders to bring Woodlawn Station to life. Community stakeholders included the Network of Woodlawn, the Grove Parc Tenants Association, the University of Chicago, Metrosquash, block clubs, public agencies, local elected officials and community groups.
The property now provides much-needed affordable housing for very low-income households and working families in communities with a great need for affordable homes. Seventeen homes in Woodlawn Station are reserved for households earning at or below 30 percent of the Area Median income (AMI), and 14 of those are reserved for households earning at or below 30 percent of AMI who also have a head of household with a disability or illness. An additional 18 units are set at 50 percent AMI.
Residents of Woodlawn Station have access to the full range of services provided at POAH’s Woodlawn Resource Center, located one block away on the first floor of The Burnham at Woodlawn Park. POAH opened the new 8,000 square-foot community center to offer social service supports for residents, as well as employment and workforce development opportunities for the entire community. The Resource Center offers a range of skill-building classes, workforce certifications, and education programs, such as financial literacy courses, employment and income support services, behavioral health assistance, GED and college preparedness classes, and digital literacy education.
Residents also benefit from the property’s location, which is close to the city’s public parks, educational and employment opportunities at nearby schools and the University of Chicago’s South Campus, public transportation, grocery stores, pharmacies, and restaurants.
Remarks from U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL)
Senator Durbin shared in a congratulatory video, “The success of Woodlawn Station would not be possible without federal grants, Affordable Housing Tax Credits, private investment, willing nonprofits, and a community engaged in working together to bring this project to life… As we look to enact some of the most consequential social investments of our time, we ought to keep projects like Woodlawn Station, communities like Woodlawn, at the top of mind. This is what is possible when we invest in communities, and we give groups like POAH the resources necessary to bring these projects to fruition. To everyone who had a role in Woodlawn Station, thanks. I hope we can replicate this success, so every family has a safe and healthy place to call home.”
Recognition from U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)
Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) provided Woodlawn Station with a letter of congratulations, in which she wrote:
“I applaud POAH for taking the initiative and working hard to build Woodlawn Station over the last twelve years. Your vision to revitalize the City of Chicago’s Woodlawn neighborhood via the provision of affordable housing uplifts people and families and enables them to thrive in society. Thank you for providing 70 much-needed affordable homes for very low-income households and working families in a community with a great need for affordable housing.”
Recognition from U.S. Representative Bobby L. Rush (D-IL-1)
In a letter of congratulations, Representative Bobby L. Rush (D-IL-1) wrote, “The Woodlawn Station housing complex serves as a wonderful example of how economic investment and affordable housing can co-exist for the benefit for underserved communities. Citizens have a right to quality housing, and I have had a front-row seat to the incredible process that went into creating this sustainable and transit-friendly development.”