Despite the headlines highlighting the millions of dollars of help that Woodlawn will be receiving, some concerned neighbors are demanding accountability in the process.
To underscore this point a letter was recently sent to the management of the Preservation of Affordable Housing, the lead developer in the Parc Grove redevelopment, regarding one of their other properties in Woodlawn :
Dear POAH Management,
It is to my understanding that you own and manage 6153 S. St. Lawrence, I am typing in the middle of the night to inform you of the conditions that you have left unchecked within your building. I just witnessed a young man come out of your building (6153) and urinate on the ground in front of the building and go back inside. I believe the tenant (Brenda) has moved out and left the unit with her young daughter who seems to have given the unit to a group of young men that only drink all day and have women over all night. Please get a handle on this ASAP. I am tired of looking and cleaning up after these folks, their behavior is destroying your property and bringing down (way down) the quality of life normal humans are accustomed to. Again, please look into this ASAP, also your third floor (North) at the same address has a window that has been opened all summer long, rain and debris have fallen into this unit and no one has taken the time to close the window. If this is the manner of management that is coming I will be the first to say I do not want or need POAH as a resident/owner within the 6100 Block of St. Lawrence, I may not be able to stop you from purchasing property with tax payers monies but I can make sure everyone knows of the job you are doing including the people (HUD) that put their faith in POAH's management.
This is one voice out of many concerned neighbors and groups that are taking an active role in trying to steer Woodlawn’s revitalization into a more transparent and inclusive process. Discussions on Everyblock, Facebook as well as grass roots community efforts underscore the level of commitment from a number of Woodlawn residents.
Seemingly, poor management of rental properties and tenant screening seem to be at the top of most people’s lists. Ironically---in some cases---the problem housing is owned and managed by the very individuals and entities who assert that they are “community leaders.”
While I can’t speak to all of my neighbor’s experiences, some of the “community leaders” I’ve met rarely reside in the geographical boundaries of our neighborhood, much less live next door to a problem building.
Talking the talk is one thing, living next door to mayhem is quite another.
For those of us who have to have to negotiate the day to day experience, clearly more of the same rebuilt with federal, state and local tax dollars is not an attractive option.
How would that help to solve one of Woodlawn’s biggest problems?
At this point, it remains to be seen if the resident’s concerns about the future vision for Woodlawn and the inclusiveness of the process will be taken seriously.
One thing is abundantly clear---this neighborhood cannot tolerate 50 more years of the same thinking.
That’s what got us here in the first place.