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Community Stages a Comeback
This dramatic transformation of a community in Madison and Venice, Illinois, was the beginning of a renaissance of hope for all of Madison County. Washington Avenue Apartments replaced 65 railroad boxcars – yes, boxcars – that had been welded together in the mid-1980s for use as low-income housing. Inadequate at best, they soon became crime-ridden and dilapidated.
NDC, as technical assistance provider to the County, worked with local residents, elected officials, investors, bankers and the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) to devise a solution to what had become some of the worst housing in the nation. With financing from IHDA and Low Income Housing Tax Credits, NDC’s Housing and Economic Development Corporation (HEDC) became the developer of Washington Avenue Apartments, replacing the boxcars with a project designed to go beyond simple shelter. With its safe, comfortable homes, a community center (with a computer lab), laundry facilities, playgrounds, landscaping and gardens, it has become a place where a community could take shape and thrive.