Two Chicago neighborhoods recently celebrated the opening of affordable housing developments, and NHC members The Community Builders, Inc. and Volunteers of America were responsible for making the action happen.
In the Englewood neighborhood, Volunteers of America celebrated the opening of Hope Manor II, an affordable mixed-use development designed for previously homeless veterans, or veterans at risk of homelessness, and their families. Englewood’s Hope Manor II will house 73 veterans and their families, and provide free tutoring for children, family counseling, job training and other supportive services. Like its predecessor Hope Manor I, Hope Manor II was funded through low income housing tax credits and additional funding through the Illinois Housing Development Authority and the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. The opening of Hope Manor II will bring Chicago one step closer to meeting its goal of ending veteran homelessness by the end of 2015.
Meanwhile in Bronzeville, The Community Builders celebrated the grand opening of the Shops and Lofts at 47, the community’s first residential and commercial development in the area in 50 years. The new development will play a major part in revitalization of the Bronzeviile neighborhood as part of Alderman Toni Preckwinkle’s neighborhood renaissance plan. After nearly a decade of work to jumpstart the project, and more than a year since construction began, the community will have access to ground-floor retail via Walmart Neighborhood Market and 96 mixed-income affordable apartment homes. The new development revitalizes the neighborhood and allows the creation of 150 construction jobs and more than 100 full-time retail jobs to residents in Bronzeville and surrounding communities.
The need for affordable housing in Chicago and nationally is grave. Data from our annual Paycheck to Paycheck report shows that many community workers cannot afford the costs to rent or own in the Chicago metro area, and of five health care jobs studied, three (home health aides, medical billings clerks and medical transcriptionists) cannot afford to live in median fair-market priced apartments. These new developments will lessen the cost burden housing places on many lower-income families in Chicago.