We have engaged a wide variety of developments and programs in partnership with community residents to achieve our goals in our core priority areas of housing, business development, wellness, and leadership.
As the originating lead agency for the LISC Chicago New Communities Program, the Garfield Park Community Council works to increase local investment and economic opportunities while reducing the risk of displacement for long-term residents. Through our community engagement efforts, our team has successfully facilitated more than $50 million in neighborhood investments since 2005. We served as the community partner for The Hatchery, a $34 million food business incubator that opened at the corner of Lake and Kedzie in 2018. With resident input, GPCC led the development of a legally binding Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) with The Hatchery development team to ensure that community residents access opportunities at the development, including a space to prepare local produce and host the Garfield Park Neighborhood Market on site.
- Launched the bimonthly Garfield Park Neighborhood Market, now located at The Hatchery, which offers local entrepreneurs a venue to sell products and brings locally-grown fresh produce and goods to the neighborhood.
- Organized the Garfield Park Garden Network, which includes 32 green spaces, 12 active community gardens, and a year-round greenhouse for more than 10 West Side resident-led garden groups.
- Created the Youth Garden Corps to create paid summer internships for local teens to work in the Secured paid internships for more than 400 community teens through a year-round and summer jobs program supported by the City of Chicago.
- Supported 2,500 landlords, tenants, and homeowners facing crisis issues such as foreclosure and eviction since 2010. GPCC has offered at least 60 workshops attended by 1,300 residents to learn about housing opportunities and skills. GPCC has also offered assistance to 669 families faced with renting an apartment in a foreclosed property.
- Served as the community lead for housing reinvestment programs in partnership with the City of Chicago and city-wide organizations since 2014, engaging residents and local developers to gain access to investment opportunities.
- Led planning efforts and walkability studies on the Kedzie and Pulaski commercial corridors, with the City of Chicago Department of Transportation.
- Trained more than 100 individuals through an annual community organizing and leadership development series, enhancing collaboration on the West Side through West Side Rising and other coalition-building efforts.
We helped sponsor Inspiration Kitchens, an award-winning restaurant to East Garfield Park, and Safer Foundation’s landscaping program for returning citizens. GPCC also spearheaded the City of Chicago’s Neighborhood Stabilization program and started a walking club that logged 20,000 walking miles.
technical assistance and support
- Worked on the educational plan, construction bid and provided a grant to recruit the first class at the $50 million Westinghouse High School in 2009.
- Supported the opening of the Alaine Locke Community Learning Center, a preK-8 charter school located in the Kedzie corridor. GPCC provided $20,000 in seed funding through LISC for early childhood education supplies, as well as adult education programming available for school parents.
- Facilitated the creation and installation of five large and visible public murals by professional artists and local teens through grant support from the City's Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs.
GPCC is increasingly focused on working with developments that increase climate resilience and racial equity and those which help mitigate the displacement of legacy residents.
GPCC supported the Preserving Affordability Together plan with Metropolitan Planning Council and the Institute for Housing Studies at DePaul University. The plan aims to increase strategic investment without displacing legacy residents, and led to the formation of the Garfield Park Affordability and Stability Coalition.
Fifth Avenue in East Garfield Park has been designated as a Resilient Corridor by the City of Chicago. With Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH), GPCC worked to increase community participation in a new, carbon-neutral housing development that will bring 45-77 new rental units, retail space, and more opportunities. The new development is a part of the C40 Global Cities Initiative and will be located on the Fifth Avenue Resilient Corrodior, which is also the location of a new fruit orchard. Since 2018, GPCC has been working toward the development of the Garfield Park Eco-Orchard and an adjacent nature play space. The orchard project has secured $1 million from the City of Chicago and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago.