The City of Chicago is putting support behind a plan to build 250 single-family homes in the North Lawndale Community on the city's West Side, officials announced this week. Advocates see the initiative as a chance to address vacancy, violence, and decades of disinvestment while creating opportunities for families to build generational wealth and equity through homeownership.

Dubbed the "Reclaiming Communities Campaign," the program is led by a joint venture of Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives (CNI), the Lawndale Christian Development Corporation (LCDC), and United Power for Action and Justice (UPAJ). Under the plan, the team will purchase 250 vacant lots from the city for $1 each. City officials will also "streamline the acquisition process" and provide $5.3 million in local tax-increment financing (TIF) dollars for site remediation and lot preparation.

According to a press release, United Power for Action and Justice has secured $10 million in state funding to provide an average subsidy of $30,000 to prospective homebuyers. UPAJ has funding commitments totaling $27.5 million, "including $12.25 million from private sector sources for a revolving construction fund from JP Morgan Chase, The Steans Family Foundation, The Owens Family Foundation, Pete Villim, and The Roche Family Foundation."

"The impact that homeownership has on building generational wealth is a benefit that has been denied to many of our Black and Brown residents on the South and West sides for far too long–not only due to historic racially discriminatory housing practices, but also due to present day lack of lending and investment," said Chicago Department of Housing Commissioner Marisa Novara in a statement. "This exciting partnership is a step toward repairing the intergenerational harm of private and government wealth extraction from Black Chicagoans."

In addition to the 250 homes planned under "Reclaiming Communities," the North Lawndale community is also a key area of Mayor Lori Lightfoot's INVEST South/West initiative which aims to revitalize commercial corridors in underserved neighborhoods on the city's South and West sides. City planners are currently evaluating bids from six teams of developers, architects, and community partners to redevelop a transit-served city lot at 3400 W. Ogden Avenue.