Only a month after expanding its footprint through the acquisition of affordable apartment buildings from the YMCA in Chicago and Harvey, Illinois, Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH) announced it is extending its reach by acquiring four more affordable properties from the Burnham Companies in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood and the city of Elgin, Illinois in Kane County.
In Austin, POAH has purchased two buildings that provide 94 apartments for seniors and people with disabilities at 325 and 345 N. Austin Street. In Elgin, POAH has purchased the 100-unit seniors apartment Burnham Manor at 1350 Fleetwood Drive and the 27-family-unit Burnham Wing Schoolhouse Apartments at 260 Center Street. All four buildings are well-landscaped and feature on-site laundry and parking as well as community rooms and other tenant amenities. All units are reserved for those eligible for HUD Section 8 rental assistance.
The acquisition expands POAH’s footprint in and around the Chicago area to more than 1,700 affordable apartments that the nonprofit has developed or acquired and now manages since 2008. This includes 700-plus new or rehabbed apartments in Chicago’s Woodlawn neighborhood that have replaced the long-troubled Grove Parc development.
“We are excited to be moving into new communities—bringing with us decades of experience that demonstrate the benefits to residents of improving both housing and tenant services,” said Bill Eager, POAH’s Chicago-area vice president. “We believe both Austin and Elgin will be great places to work, and the process of integrating ourselves into these communities is already under way.”
The buildings purchased in Austin and Elgin are well-preserved and feature tenant amenities such as laundry rooms and community spaces. Over the next year POAH plans to make improvements to heating and other mechanical systems, efficient plumbing and lighting and roofing as well as enhancing tenant services.
POAH also plans to hire a community impact coordinator who will work with neighborhood organizations and service providers to create regular programming for residents focused on access to food, healthy living, financial stability and community engagement. These programs will be modeled after the services POAH provides at its other properties, including at the Woodlawn Resource Center in Chicago.
POAH, a national nonprofit organization that owns and operates more than 12,000 affordable apartments in 11 states and the District of Columbia, arrived in Chicago in 2008 at the request of tenants and community advocacy groups, the city of Chicago and HUD to replace the distressed Grove Parc apartments with mixed-income housing in a manner that would revitalize the neighborhood.
Bolstered by a $30.5 million HUD Choice Neighborhood Initiative grant in 2011, POAH has built and renovated mixed-income, mixed-use communities that include the award-winning Woodlawn Park on South Cottage Grove Avenue between 61st and 63rd Streets. There, community collaboration has supported hundreds of new apartments, commercial spaces, MetroSquash youth center, a community center and partner-driven development, including a new 48,000-square-foot Jewel-Osco grocery store whose opening in March marked the end of the area as a food desert.