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POAH Spreads Its Wings Again

Burnham Wing Schoolhouse Apartments at 260 Center St., Elgin, Ill.

Preservation of Affordable Housing extended its reach across the Chicago region by acquiring four affordable properties from Burnham Cos. in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood and suburban Elgin. The move comes just a month after it expanded its footprint by acquiring affordable apartment buildings from the YMCA in Chicago and suburban Harvey

In Austin, POAH purchased two buildings at 325 and 345 North Austin St. with a total of 94 apartments for seniors and people with disabilities. In Elgin, the nonprofit bought the 100-unit senior apartment building Burnham Manor at 1350 Fleetwood Drive and the 27-unit Burnham Wing Schoolhouse Apartments at 260 Center St. All units are reserved for those eligible for HUD Section 8 rental assistance.

“We are excited to be moving into new communities — bringing with us decades of experience that demonstrate the benefits to residents of improving both housing and tenant services,” POAH Vice President Bill Eager said.

Bolstered by a $30M U.S. Housing and Urban Development Choice Neighborhood Initiative grant in 2011, POAH manages, creates and restores affordable housing. This deal brings its footprint in the Chicago area to more than 1,700 affordable apartments. All were developed or acquired since 2008, including the 700-plus new or rehabbed apartments in Chicago’s Woodlawn neighborhood that replaced the decayed Grove Parc community. 

POAH plans to improve its Austin and Elgin purchases by upgrading the roofing, lighting, heating, plumbing and other mechanical systems, as well as enhancing tenant services, Eager said. 

It also plans to hire a community impact coordinator who will help residents focus on securing access to healthy food and financial stability, and getting involved in their community. POAH will model these programs after the services provided at its other properties.

The organization owns and operates more than 12,000 affordable apartments in 11 states and the District of Columbia. It arrived in Chicago in 2008 to replace the distressed Grove Parc apartments with mixed-income housing.

“We believe both Austin and Elgin will be great places to work, and the process of integrating ourselves into these communities is already underway,” Eager said.