Friday, February 18, 2011


Mike Tomas, New Communities Program Director for the Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance, listens as Community Male Empowerment Project Exec. Director Melvin Bailey explains his agency’s role as developer of the 3352 W. Walnut St. NSP home. (Photo by Brad)

 The East Garfield NSP Team: (from left) William Towns, Regional V.P., Mercy Portfolio Services; Phyllis Logan, real estate agent and home ownership preparation specialist; Melvin Bailey, Exec. Dir., Community Male Empowerment Project; Alanda Turner, Community Male Empowerment Project Dir. of Operations; and Katie Ludwig of the Chicago Department of Housing & Economic Development. (Photo by Brad)
This foreclosed home at 3352 W. Walnut St. required a total gut rehab to make it livable again. (Photo by Brad)
In the summer of 2009, a shooting outside an East Garfield Park liquor store leaving several people injured at Homan & Walnut galvanized the community. It launched an effort by determined residents and local groups to convince City leaders and private investors to change the character of their neighborhood and stabilize a notorious hotspot.
    In the 18 months since the shooting, the liquor store is gone, calls for service to the 11th Police District have declined, new businesses are being recruited, and foreclosed homes are being rehabbed under the Neighborhood Stabilization Program to create affordable housing for families.
    The Community Male Em-powerment Project is working with the City of Chicago Department of Housing, Mercy Portfolio Services, the Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance, and East Garfield Park leaders to rehab foreclosed houses and sell them to qualified families. The first home, at 3352 West Walnut, was recently unveiled, a second is up for sale, and a third is under construction.
    Most NSP properties have been vacant for at least a year. The amount of work required to make NSP houses livable varies from total gut rehab to less comprehensive construction.
    For information on obtaining NSP houses, go online to or call the Chicago Department of Housing & Economic Development.

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