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HUD seeking Letters of Support for historic preservation of Lathrop Homes


Dear Lathrop Homes residents, alumni, neighbors and allies -- 

The U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) is seeking letters from various organizations assessing the potential for historic preservation of the Lathrop Homes and commenting on the scenarios released by the development team in November.
These letters can come from a wide variety of organizations, or from individuals with expertise or knowledge (letters can be e-mailed in PDF format).  LSNA needs your help to reach out to appropriate groups and people.  Please let us know your suggestions.

For example, letters could come from: 

  • Groups involved with architecture, landscape architecture and the history of those subjects
  • Groups involved with public housing history or policy
  • New Deal history groups
  • Ethnic, cultural and civil rights organizations that could address Lathrop's ethnic & cultural history
  • Local historical societies
  • Neighborhood & community groups
  • Agencies located on site at Lathrop or that work with Lathrop residents
  • Housing advocacy groups
  • Housing development practitioners
  • Scholars and "experts" in any of the above areas.

In their letters, organizations should:

  • ask HUD to list them as a Consulting Party in the Lathrop Homes Section 106 process.*  HUD will keep Consulting Parties informed about upcoming meetings relating to Lathrop & historic preservation.
  • comment on why historic preservation makes sense at the Lathrop Homes -- in terms of the quality of the architecture and landscape, in terms of Lathrop's social and cultural history, and for more practical reasons (buildings are structurally sound, units can reconfigured, revitalization could be completed much sooner & at lower cost, etc.)
  • comment on positive & negative aspects of the three scenarios presented by the development team, especially with regard to historic preservation but also in terms of the impact on access to public and affordable housing, density and traffic issues, etc.

To see visuals of the 3 scenarios: visit  Scroll down until and you will find a video and a PDF summary for the Riverworks, Gateways and Greenscapes scenarios.  (Riverworks and Gateways would preserve some of the existing buildings; Greenscapes would only preserve the power plant.)  Although the development team has already announced some changes since the release of the scenarios in November, HUD encourages Consulting Parties to comment on the scenarios.  

In addition to looking at the scenarios, we recommend reviewing the pdf updated 'Facts & Figures' sheet, which provides you with all the basic numbers for Lathrop today, our preservation vision, the CHA's guidelines from 2010, the developers' scenarios from November, and the revised numbers the developers' have announced since then.

Letters should be mailed to...

Mr. Steven E. Meiss, Director
Illinois Office of Public Housing
77 W. Jackson, 24th Floor
Chicago, IL 60604

...or e-mailed as a PDF to Meiss through his staff person Erik Sandstedt at

Please also e-mail that PDF to me so we can keep copies of as many letters as possible.  Thank you!

John McDermott 

UPDATE:  Here are several resources that could be helpful in preparing your organization's letter to HUD to comment on the case for historic preservation at Lathrop and on the three scenarios proposed last November. 

First, here is what HUD received from the development team, Lathrop Community Partners, last month (HUD then forwarded these documents to the current Consulting Parties):

  • The Lathrop Community Partners' draft Section 106 Public Participation Report which includes a 12-page April 2011 "Initial Report" on historic preservation by then-LCP consultant Vince Michael.  (This big file also includes many attachments, such as the power point used by LCP in their Kickoff Meeting and Workshops in November & December 2011.)
  • A Chronology of CHA Compliance with Section 106 requirements.  Check out the entry for June 20, 2012:  At this meeting, CHA claims, HUD and the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency agreed that LCP's "upcoming series of community meetings as part of the Lathrop planning process will fulfill the Section 106 public input requirement."  Because of this, it makes sense to include comments about the planning process in your letters.
  • LCP's 2-page Summary of Community Input on the three scenarios presented in November 2012.
Second, here are preservation studies and fact sheets that you may want to cite or quote in your letter.

Keywords: affordable housing, HUD, Lathrop, Lathrop Homes, Logan Square Neighborhood Association, lsna, Public housing

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