The U.S. is in a national housing crisis — short nearly 4 million units. APA has partnered with the National League of Cities (NLC) on the Housing Supply Accelerator, a national campaign to improve local capacity, identify critical solutions, and speed reforms to enable communities and developers to work together to produce, preserve, and provide a diverse range of quality housing.
Earlier this summer the members of the Housing Supply Accelerator Steering Committee met in Chicago and online at the first of three convenings to dig into the opportunities and obstacles facing the construction and development of housing. At the convening, public and private developers shared their work to help address the housing crisis impacting low– and moderate–income families.
Steering committee participants attending the convening in person were able to see first-hand three developments located in Chicago's west and southside neighborhoods that are providing much needed housing and additional community services. All three developments are in neighborhoods that have experienced sustained underinvestment.
The Burnham is a 65-unit senior development in the Woodlawn neighborhood of Chicago's southside. The development began in 2010 by the Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH), a nonprofit developer, and was supported by a Choice Neighborhoods Planning and Implementation Grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The building includes a property management office, a community center that features local artists, and a resource center providing a computer lab, employment assistance, and financial services coaching.
Bill Eager, senior vice president for real estate development for POAH discusses the community-wide redevelopment efforts in Woodlawn (a Chicago South Side neighborhood), including future phases outside of the Burnham and the Woodlawn Resource Center. Photo by Roberta Rewers.
Eager speaks with members of the Housing Supply Accelerator Steering Committee about the uses of the resource center, including featuring local artists. Photo by Brenna Donegan.
POAH recognized there were community needs beyond housing. Since its start in Woodlawn, POAH has overseen 10 phases of housing, 25,000 square foot commercial space, and has partnered with other organizations to bring additional investments to the neighborhood. This includes a much-needed grocery store and the addition of MetroSquash, which serves 300 kids, mostly low-income, from 5th to 12th grade, providing both athletic activity, academic support, and scholarship opportunities.
MetroSquash provides an athletic outlet as well as academic support to more than 300 kids. Photo by Roberta Rewers.
MetroSquash offers $1,000 scholarships to alumni currently enrolled in post-secondary institutions. Since 2014, MetroSquash has given nearly $314,000 in financial aid. Photo by Roberta Rewers.
Developer: P3 Markets
Infill and transit-oriented development are the motivation behind 43 Green, a P3 Markets development. Opening this summer is phase one of 43 Green, a 10 story, 99-unit building designed for young professionals. It is the first equitable transit-oriented development on Chicago's South Side. Half the building will be market rate and half will be affordable housing.
43 Green is designed for the young professional and includes a mix of market-rate and affordable housing options, including ground floor retail. Photo by Brenna Donegan.
The building features one bedroom and studio units and includes amenities such as a workout center, outdoor deck, community room, and bike storage. The development backs up to Chicago's CTA 43rd Green Line station. Given the strong focus on TOD, the building has a total of nine parking spaces available (five are accessible) and one is for EVs.
Phillip L. Beckham III, co-founder of P3 Markets, discusses the proximity of all P3 Markets developments to Chicago's CTA lines. Photo by Mike Johnson.
The development focuses on community connection. The ground floor is designated for retail and will include an independent Black-owned coffee shop and a sit-down BBQ restaurant, providing much needed services in the neighborhood. The goal is to provide residents with what they need so they do not have to leave the community.
Neighborhood reaction has been very positive. The impact is attributed to the developers — who are neighborhood residents themselves — sitting with the community and learning about their needs and desires for the community. The development has proven so popular, it is now a viral tradition to take a selfie in front of the building.
Snapshot from P3 Markets Instagram channel. It has become a viral tradition to take a selfie in front of 43 Green, celebrating its arrival in the Bronzeville neighborhood.
P3 Markets concentrates on city-owned lots that follow the Chicago CTA Green and Red lines. Their next development is slated to break ground later this summer.
Lofts on Arthington/Sterling Park
Location: North Lawndale/Homan Square
Developer: Mercy Housing Lakefront
The Lofts on Arthington/Sterling Park was once a bustling Sears and Roebuck Company 53-acre campus, it is now an award-winning example of adaptive reuse for low– and moderate–income families. The Lofts features 180 units and is home to 400 residents — half are kids — and offers one–, two–, three–, and four–bedroom units with rents ranging from $700 to $1400 (all utilities included). Two-thirds of the development are Low Income Tax Credit Financing (LIHTC).
The newly opened resident services activity room embodies the family atmosphere of the building. It provides a gathering place for residents, offers wi-fi and youth programming, including an in-house photography studio and curriculum.
Mark Angelini, president of Mercy Housing Lakefront, discusses the newly opened activity room inside The Lofts. Photo by Brenna Donegan.
The Lofts are part of a larger public-private redevelopment effort of the Sears campus that began in 1993 by Mercy Housing Lakefront. In total over three phases, the redevelopment brought over 700 units of housing to the neighborhood — 325 units of mixed income housing (rental and for sale, co-mingled) and 400 units as part of a multi-family redevelopment.
Sears, Roebuck, and Company factory in Chicago, Illinois. Photo from Evansville History Gallery, University Archives & Special Collections, University of Southern Indiana (non-commercial use permitted).
The campus includes supportive services including a daycare, elementary schools, two charter high schools, grocery anchored retail, and a Chicago Park District fieldhouse that not only provides physical activity but also after-school programming.
Exterior shot of The Lofts. Photo by Brenna Donegan.
Residents of the Lofts share their personal stories and their enjoyment of living in the community. Photo by Brenna Donegan.
All three locations demonstrated the importance of innovation and dedication to improving housing options for all.
The Housing Supply Accelerator is a joint initiative between APA and the National League of Cities to improve local capacity, identify critical solutions and speed reforms that enable communities and developers to work together to produce, preserve, and provide a diverse range of quality housing.
Top image: Phillip L. Beckham III provides an overview of the Bronzeville community on Chicago's South Side to the steering team of the Housing Supply Accelerator. Photo by Brenna Donegan.
About the author
Roberta Rewers is APA's senior communications manager.