Although the markets are beginning to recover, the economic crash devastated families and neighborhoods throughout the region. For those who were most affected, recovery remains difficult. Thanks to many philanthropic and project partners, however, there is hope. In the first three years of the Moving Forward Together campaign, Mercy Housing has built or preserved 1,583 affordable homes, sustained 3,564 jobs, and helped 3,891 people to live in hope in the Chicago and Milwaukee regions.
We need to do more. According to the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, a record number of 105,338 Chicagoans, including 17,250 students, were homeless over the course of the 2011/2012 school year.
To address the crisis, Mercy Housing launched the ten-year Moving Forward Together campaign to build or preserve 7,500 affordable homes, create 8,000 jobs, and prevent displacement or homelessness for 20,000 people. The campaign will help thousands of people like Tomeka and her children. As an out-of-work single mom, Tomeka struggled to make ends meet and was at risk for homelessness.
Fortunately, she and her kids were able to obtain an affordable home at Mercy Housing Lakefront’s Pullman Wheelworks, a historic building that previously served as a factory for the Pullman Palace Car Company.
Tomeka’s children used their home as a springboard to succeed in school. Both graduated and enrolled in college.
Tomeka used their home to rebuild her life. She obtained a new job with Madison Construction and has purchased and moved into a new home.
According to Tomeka, “it’s like a new beginning.”
Cindy Holler, President of Mercy Housing Lakefront, is pleased by Tomeka’s success. According to Cindy, “when we see residents like Tomeka obtain employment through one of our contractors and buy a new house, there’s no better success than that.”
While the campaign is now three years old, a number of significant milestones were accomplished over the past twelve months, including:
- Construction of 70 units of affordable senior housing in Grayslake;
- Completion of 75% of the work to preserve 210 units of affordable family housing at the historic Pullman Wheelworks building;
- Creation of the $100 million Mortgage Stabilization Fund in partnership with the Illinois Housing Development Authority, Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago, Enterprise Community Partners, Housing Partnership Network, and the National Community Stabilization Trust;
- Completion of renovations to preserve 360 units of foreclosed property through Chicago’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program; and
- Expanding 180° Properties throughout the region to employ 49 people, perform 15,062 work orders, and protect and maintain 3,963 vacant and rental homes.
The impact of the Moving Forward Together campaign is made possible by generous philanthropic support from hundreds of partners, including: Ascension Health, Bank of America Foundation, Citi Foundation, Loretta & Michael Clune, Crown Family Philanthropies, Deutsche Bank, Enterprise Community Partners, Fannie Mae, Grand Victoria Foundation, Helen Brach Foundation, Housing Partnership Network, Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation, JPMorgan Chase Foundation, Lloyd A. Fry Foundation (for 180o Properties), National Affordable Housing Trust, Denis B. Pierce, Polk Bros. Foundation, Presence Health, Searle Funds at the Chicago Community Trust, U.S. Bancorp Foundation, and Wells Fargo.