Reginald Hughes has called the Pullman neighborhood home since 1970. Over the decades, he has witnessed the once thriving community fall into a steady decline. Yet, recently his hope has been restored.
Throughout the course of 2012 Reginald has watched as Mercy Portfolio Services worked with Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives and Safeway Construction Company to transform Champlain Avenue, the street where he has lived for over forty years.
According to Reginald, the neighborhood has seen tough times. “It was wild, gang infested and crime infested,” he said.
Fortunately, the City of Chicago selected this historic neighborhood to participate in the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. Mercy Portfolio Services is utilizing funding from the program to purchase abandoned and foreclosed townhomes and renovate them in partnership with Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives and Safeway Construction Company. To date, eleven vacant homes have been acquired and five have been renovated.
This work is stabilizing the community. According to Reginald “my property value is rising. We have gotten a lot of police protection. We have gotten a lot of community awareness. I think when they get finished with this project a lot of folks are going to move in here.”
Reginald, who also owns and manages several apartment buildings in the community, reiterates that as a stockholder in the community he is happy to see these improvements.
He believes that the Neighborhood Stabilization Program will create a good environment where people can raise their children and where grandparents can safely walk the streets. While most of his family has moved away, he ultimately hopes they come back. “One of my sons has invested in the community and bought a home and another is looking to buy a home right now,” he said. “I hope my whole family invests in the community.”
In addition to stabilizing communities, the Neighborhood Stabilization Program creates jobs. Construction in the Pullman neighborhood has sustained 75 jobs. Overall, the program has created 2,079 jobs by acquiring and renovating homes in 29 community areas. To date, 787 units of foreclosed housing have been acquired and renovations have been completed for 415 units.
Ultimately, this work will help to revitalize neighborhoods and protect property values throughout the city. As a Pullman homeowner, Reginald is grateful. “Well, for me personally, thank you Mercy Housing for coming into this community, picking this community out to make a drastic change, because we really needed it,” he said.
For more information on Mercy Portfolio Services and the Neighborhood Stabilization Program please visit,www.chicagonsp.org.