NSP houses hit the market
There’s the smell of fresh paint on the walls in the entryway of 6405 S. Rockwell. But Karry Young, the developer who’s been remodeling the single-family home in Chicago Lawn, is pointing past the paint job, at the wooden molding.
“That oak,” he says, “puts so much personality in a house.”
Over the past three months Young and his crew have installed new insulation, plumbing, heating and air conditioning at the Rockwell house. The previous tenants had turned it into an illegal two-flat – complete with separate stairways and furnaces – and Young’s crew had to do significant construction to get it back to a single-family home. They’ve redone everything imaginable. But they wanted to maintain the personality of the original house and so instead of tearing down the molding they fixed it up.
Detail of oak molding in Chicago Lawn house renovated by Karry Young, the developer.
It’s that attention to detail that has potential homeowners excited about the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP).
Young is working on several houses in the Chicago Lawn neighborhood, all of which had been foreclosed on, were bought with federal dollars and found their way to him through Mercy Portfolio Services, the city’s non-profit partner in the NSP. The Chicago Lawn houses are among the first NSP homes in the city to go on the market.
A week after Young was showing off the house on Rockwell, he was two blocks away, at Garifuna Flava, a Caribbean restaurant on 63rd Street. This time he was among an eclectic group of developers, potential homeowners and area residents who gathered to hear a presentation on the NSP houses.
“Think about them not as rehabbed but as renewed properties,” Mercy’s Will Towns told the 40-plus people who turned out for the event. They came for a variety of reasons.
A liaison to the Chicago Police Department spoke, as did representatives from
Young with one of his workmen.
Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago and the Southwest Organizing Project.
Celine Black grew up in Chicago Lawn and has lived there her whole life. She came to reassure potential homeowners that this is a great place to raise a family. “I’m not going anywhere,” she told the crowd. “I’m a diehard.”
Soon it was time for questions from the audience.
What kind of warranty is there on the houses? (A one-year complete warranty.)
Will someone be able to show me how to use the energy-efficient appliances being installed in the homes? (Yes.)
What other areas of the city are involved with the Neighborhood Stabilization Program? (Twenty-five neighborhoods in Chicago – many of them hard hit by foreclosures.)
Then came a question that raised more than a few eyebrows.
Can I buy a house and sell it right away? (The answer is yes, although there are caps on the price that it can be sold at.) But the point of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, the presenters reminded the audience, is to rebuild strong, vibrant communities, not to make a ton of money.
When the questions were complete, everyone – developers, potential homeowners, community organizers and neighborhood residents – began talking to each other.
Jacqueline Pointer lives at 67th and Honore and said the houses all around her are boarded up. She came to ask “What do I need to do to help get it started on my block?” She got the business card of someone from Mercy Portfolio Services who promised to stay in touch.
Cora Hunter and her 17-year-old son live across the street from an NSP house at 64th and Rockwell. One day she stopped the construction workers at the house and started asking questions. Now she wants to become one of the first homeowners through the NSP. “We’re working out the details,” she said.
And then there’s George Havelka, a retired banker, who grew up in Chicago Lawn and came to learn more about the program. The housing stock in the neighborhood was built to last forever, he said, so long as there are families living in and maintaining the houses.
And what does he make of the NSP’s attempts to rebuild the community? “This is exactly what the neighborhood needs,” he said.
On June 12, tours of the Chicago Lawn NSP houses will be available from noon to 4 p.m. For more information, see this flyer.
Posted in News