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POAH names Woodlawn Apartments for Chicago housing advocate

May 27, 2022

On Thursday, May 26, POAH hosted a ceremony to name two apartment buildings in the Woodlawn neighborhood of Chicago after longtime housing activist Mattie Butler. The two buildings at 6146 S.Kenwood Ave. and 6230 S. Dorchester Ave. were originally built in the 1920s as hotels and purchased in the 1990s by Woodlawn East Community and Neighbors, an organization founded by Butler to connect Woodlawn residents with housing assistance programs. POAH purchased the building in 2017 with the understanding that they would be renovated and remain affordable. POAH recently completed the property’s modernization and today formally renamed the two buildings as the Mattie Butler Apartments.

Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, Congressman Bobby Rush, and 20th Ward Alderwoman Jeanette Taylor were among those who joined with the Woodlawn community to honor Butler. Already a tireless advocate for equality, following a series of deadly fires in Woodlawn, Mattie Butler founded, Woodlawn East Community and Neighbors (WECAN), a nonprofit organization dedicated to meeting the changing needs of Woodlawn residents in 1980. "I'm pleased to join the celebration as we rename the Johnson and Butler-Lindon Apartments in honor of Mattie Butler, a true community leader in Woodlawn, said Mayor Lightfoot.

“I am extremely proud to have my name on these buildings and for my strong relationship with POAH,” said  Butler during the event in her honor at 6146 South Kenwood. “With all the new development in Woodlawn, the need to preserve and expand affordable housing is more urgent than ever, and POAH continues to rise to the challenge.”

“Mattie’s legacy seems especially important today,” said Bill Eager, Senior Vice President, POAH Midwest. “As development in Woodlawn progresses and work on the Obama Presidential Center advances, what we all have done here is show that – together -- we can and will preserve and create affordable housing opportunities even in the face of rising real estate markets.”

POAH is also continuing social and behavioral services for residents of the Mattie Butler Apartments, including hiring a full-time community impact coordinator. In addition to assuming ownership, POAH installed its affiliate, POAH Communities LLC, as property manager whose goal is to ensure that its residents are successful and stable in POAH’s housing over the long term.

read Chicago Sun Times article

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