University of Illinois at Chicago Office of Public Affairs (MC 288)
601 S. Morgan St., Chicago, IL 60607-7113, (312) 996-3456,


August 25, 1999 Contact: Laurent Pernot (312)413-4137 or Veronica Anderberg (312)996-4323


One of eight Illinois 1999 Department of Housing and Urban Development's Best Practices Awards has been given to the University of Illinois at Chicago Neighborhoods Initiative.

The initiative was categorized as an organization or project that made outstanding and innovative use of HUD assistance to better serve families and communities in Illinois.

"The award winners can serve as models to groups in the communities working to build affordable housing, spark economic development, create jobs, fight housing discrimination, expand homeownership and help homeless people become self-sufficient," said HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo.

The UIC Great Cities Institute, home to the Neighborhoods Initiative, is a research center committed to creating, disseminating and applying interdisciplinary knowledge about urban affairs. It implements dozens of teaching, research and service programs designed to improve the quality of life in metropolitan Chicago and other urban areas.

There were more than 3,000 candidates from all over the nation for the HUD awards. The winners were chosen from six different categories: fighting for fair housing; increasing affordable housing and homeownership; reducing homelessness, promoting jobs and economic opportunity; empowering people and communities; and restoring public trust.

The UIC Neighborhoods Initiative was commended for improving the quality of life in Chicago communities. The Initiative seeks to form partnerships between UIC and residents in the Pilsen and Near West Side neighborhoods in areas such as economic development, education, housing and health.

The results of the partnerships have led to more affordable housing, after-school activities, improved physical and mental health services, improved educational resources, increased employment and redevelopment of commercial areas.

The Neighborhoods Initiative, under the leadership of UIC Dean of Urban Planning and Public Affairs Wim Wiewel, is in the midst of a five-year, 2.4-million HUD grant to help develop joint university-community projects.

The HUD Best Practices Awards were announced in July at a four-day symposium in Kansas City, Mo., called "Building a Better Tomorrow." The event attracted more than 3,000 participants representing federal, state and local governments, universities, community-based organizations and faith-based groups.

Loomis Mayfield, coordinator of the UIC Neighborhoods Initiative, said, "True collaboration is a key concept for the success of the UIC Neighborhoods Initiative. All the partners in our various projects - the university, government agencies, the community, and private enterprises - gain from the experience and are able to use it to develop their capacities and perspectives."

For more information about the UIC Neighborhoods Initiative, please contact Mayfield at 312-996-7194 ( or co-coordinator Nacho Gonzalez at 312-996-4327 (

With 25,000 students, the University of Illinois at Chicago is the largest and most diverse university in the Chicago area. UIC is home to the largest medical school in the United States and is one of the 88 leading research universities in the country. Located just west of Chicago's Loop, UIC is a vital part of the educational, technological and cultural fabric of the area.


Copyright © 1999 by B&P Consulting, Inc. and University of Illinois at Chicago. All rights reserved.
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