Applegate & Thorne-Thomsen is partnering with Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP) and United Power for Action and Justice to transform a vacant single-family home on Maplewood Avenue into an affordable home in the Chicago Lawn neighborhood as part of the Reclaiming Southwest Chicago initiative.

Reclaiming Southwest Chicago is an initiative conceived and led by the residents of the Chicago Lawn neighborhood through SWOP. After the 2008 financial crisis, their neighborhood was hammered by 11,000 foreclosures, resulting in 700 vacant properties, rising crime, and struggling schools. Instead of giving up, giving in, or moving away, neighborhood residents banded together through SWOP to launch a comprehensive and strategic effort to reclaim their neighborhood. SWOP has partnered United Power, other community organizations and Brinshore Development to create affordable homes, safe streets, and good schools. Learn more about the initiative here.

As part of our partnership, A&TT joined forces with SWOP to clear the house and property of garbage and debris and began interior demolition. Clearing the porch, the yard and the home was satisfying and demolishing the kitchen cabinets together was fun!

The team accomplished a lot, but work remains to be done. SWOP and Brinshore are creating opportunities for local residents and contractors to do most of the work. The home should be completed in time for the Spring home-selling season.

The Applegate team is excited to continue working with SWOP to complete a full rehab by Spring of 2020 so that a local family can purchase it and make it their home. The house across the street was rehabbed by SWOP and sold to a family in 2019. The Halloween decorations, neatly trimmed yard, and freshly raked leaves evidenced how the family had already make it their home.

This home is one of many being rehabbed and transformed as part of Reclaiming Southwest Chicago. Once restored, this house will be a building block creating a stronger street, which leads to a stronger neighborhood and ultimately a stronger Chicago.

Thank you, SWOP for the opportunity to give back through the Reclaiming Southwest Chicago initiative!