“I am a school teacher in the Austin community and a first time homebuyer. WHA staff helped me through the process, worked with me to secure a mortgage, and allowed me to be a part of the process in rehabbing a home in the community. Now my family and I not only have a house, but a home to call our own. Thank you, WHA, for making my dream a reality.”- Tahira Liberty
In 2000, EBV Citizen Leaders organized to raise the initial funds needed to build a state-of-the-art health facility. The Austin Wellness Center now houses the expanded Austin Cook County Clinic, a Fresenius Dialysis Center, and other providers of health and wellness services for residents of Chicago’s Westside.
The $7, 000,000 development began with the $60,000 collected through creative fundraising efforts of neighborhood residents, and was completed with over 80% minority contractors. By training and employing men from the local area, the project offered them opportunities to gain meaningful employment and find alternatives to street crime and violence. The Wellness Center became a source of community hope and pride, and also sparked more commercial development along the busy intersection of Chicago Avenue at Cicero Avenue.
Inspired by the success of the Austin Wellness Center and its impact on the community, WHA has developed an additional 4 commercial properties and 32 units of housing. These real estate development efforts are part of our 100 Men 100 Homes campaign, which has a mission to revitalize Austin and surrounding areas by using the capacity of ordinary citizens to rebuild their community. WHA aims to employ 100 men residing in these communities to restore 100 vacant, foreclosed and/or abandoned properties for 100 low- to moderate-income families.
100 Men 100 Homes presents a comprehensive and cost-effective approach for revitalization by leveraging public and private resources alongside proven community expertise to employ, empower and build capacity of community members in restoring their neighborhood from the inside-out.