Boarded-up foreclosed homes in Chicago Lawn

With its blocks of classic bungalows and brick two-flats, Chicago Lawn was for decades a Southwest Side bastion of middle-class stability. More recently it had become a glaring example of the devastation wrought by the foreclosure crisis. But this spring the neighborhood may start to show signs of another turn as a round of previously foreclosed homes, rehabbed through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), are bought or rented, bringing committed residents back into what had been derelict properties.

Mercy Portfolio Services, an NSP participant, has about a dozen homes in the blocks immediately southwest of 63rd Street and Western Avenue that are in various stages of rehab and marketing. “[NSP] could buy a foreclosure in every block of the city, but it’s not as great an impact as if they concentrate on one place where they can make a difference,” says Cardigan Shipman, an Evanston real-estate agent who is one of Mercy’s reps in the market.

What’s more, “[buyers] see there’s a positive type of concentration going on,” says Sarah Ware, a South Shore real-estate agent who has been trained to help would-be homeowners negotiate the intricate process required to purchase one of these residences.

Click through the photo tour below to learn more about the Chicago Lawn cluster.