Four years ago the Chatham MMRP had over 100 vacant properties, little rehab was happening, crime was up and distressed occupied properties under poor management had little fear of recourse. Today there are less than 50 vacant properties in the Chatham MMRP, rehabs are at their highest level since before the foreclosure crisis, crime is down and numerous other distressed occupied properties are either in housing court or are in process to be put in housing court. Also, opinions have changed about the Chatham MMRP and optimism is growing. In a year from now I am anticipating that there will be less than 30 vacant properties.
When I became the Chatham MMRP Project Coordinator I shared many victories with all of you and the residents of Chatham. We had increasingly successful neighbor works days these past three years where as a community we beautified numerous intersections and help to build community (our last neighbor works day hosted, organized and fed approximately 500 people and was the first block party that occurred in the MMRP area in over 25 years); housing fairs we organized built confidence in the rental market; our slow roll bicycle ride contributed to supporting local business, changed perceptions about bicycling/transportation and brought over 125 new visitors to explore Chatham; numerous community meetings at Maryland Avenue Baptist Church added to new ideas, provided valuable introductions and allowed us to dialogue with the community we have been working to serve; monthly advisory council meetings have allowed us to delve into improving building compliance issues by going after troubled buildings and bad property managers, improve the image of East Chatham and allowed us to discuss and work towards improving human needs issues...the cornerstone principles of the Chatham MMRP Advisory Council.
Now my friends I must announce that I have resigned as Chatham MMRP Project Coordinator and Program Officer for the Troubled Buildings Initiative at CIC. My last day will be this coming Friday (11/20/15).
Our friend Ros Meerdink will succeed me this Friday and will take over my Chatham MMRP and Troubled Building Initiative receiverships and responsibilities. I have full confidence in Ros to capitalize on what we have all built and accomplished together in the Chatham MMRP and to continue our great work. Ros was the MMRP Pritcher Fellow before being promoted to TBI Program Officer and has been present for our best victories in the Chatham MMRP and has been a leader amongst the Advisory Council. Ros' cool and inquisitive demeanor, attention to detail and ability to go after troubled buildings will ensure that our work in Chatham and the surrounding neighborhoods will continue and thrive. Please follow up with Ros at Rosamond.Meerdink@cicchicago.com.
It has been my honor to work at CIC and to serve the Chatham MMRP. Please feel free to reach out to me via my personal email address at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My best work was in organizing this Advisory Council and collaborating and working with all of you in improving Chatham, building community and having so much fun while doing so. I will always be grateful for your dedication.