Corcoran Place Apartments in Austin will get $5.6 million in energy-efficient upgrades thanks to a HUD award granted to Preservation of Affordable Housing of Chicago. Credit: Trey Arline/Block Club Chicago
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AUSTIN — Federal and local agencies are investing millions to modernize the Corcoran Place Apartments, a 94-unit apartment complex for older Austin residents.

Preservation of Affordable Housing of Chicago has received $5.6 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to bring a slew of energy-efficient upgrades to the apartments at 325 and 345 N. Austin Blvd. that will improve the quality of life for its residents, officials said.

The renovations will include enhancing HVAC systems, updating rental units and increasing the community green space on the rooftops to improve air quality, reduce carbon emissions, promote renewable energy and make the apartments more resilient to extreme weather events, according to a press release.

The funding is part of HUD’s Green and Resilient Retrofit Program, which invests in affordable housing communities serving low-income families.

At a press conference Friday announcing the award, Rep. Danny Davis praised the program and championed caring for older people in the Austin community, saying housing people in need is a basic dignity that should be afforded to everyone.

“Lower-income people should be able to live in decent houses,” Davis said. “These new technologies can help the environment compared to other energy sources.”

Bill Eager, Preservation of Affordable Housing vice president of real estate development, said work at the Corcoran Place Apartments should begin next year, with the full project to be completed in 12-18 months.

“This funding is making a huge difference across the community, especially for our seniors,” Eager said. ”Fingers crossed, but the city and [Illinois Department of Transportation] are close collaborators and are working together to make sure this project gets done.”

Air pollution is disproportionately worse on the South and West sides, hitting Black and Latino populations the hardest, studies have shown.

“Taking this leap is true restorative, economic justice,” said Diane M. Shelley, HUD’s Great Lakes regional administrator. “This is the first time that HUD has proactively sought to combat issues with climate change, especially in underserved communities.”

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