Block Builds demonstrate that residents see value in their communities. Small changes through simple tasks like painting, landscaping and waste removal add up to beautify entire neighborhoods, sending the message that residents are proud of the places they live, and worth the investment. Though the numbers above only represent one event, every Block Build restores confidence in the area and benefits Chicago as a whole.


Block Build 2016 by the Numbers

100 West Pullman residents and volunteers

5 homes critically repaired

15 vacant lots and alleyways cleaned up







"We believe in our neighbors. We know little things can lead to big change. That's why we got involved with Block Build. It's a chance to take on some abandoned lots and to invigorate our community."
Robert, participating Block Build homeowner





Redefining Neighbor

We believe a neighbor isn't just the person who lives next door. A neighbor is someone with common goals and dreams, who may or may not live down the street. One of the benefits of volunteering with Habitat Chicago is the ability to meet new neighbors who might just live across town from you. It is an opportunity to see a new part of the city, work alongside someone with different life experiences, and remember how small the world can be. It's a hometown adventure.

“Volunteering at Block Build absolutely changes the way you think about West Pullman and the South Side. It shows a community that’s willing to come together to better their homes and lives. It’s amazing what well-groomed yards, a little landscaping, and paint can do to change the face of a block…. I think it reinforces pride of ownership on the block, which can have positive effects for months and years to come. It also reminds you of what a small world we live in - we all spent the day talking about things we have in common. Just about life and sports and our city.”
Nick, Block Build volunteer






Taking Shape

The true magic of Block Build, though, is the collaboration between residents and volunteers. People may show up as strangers, but they often leave as friends and neighbors. There is something special that happens when people come together for a common cause. And beyond strategic repairs and beautification projects, Block Build has sparked new ideas for other neighborhood improvements, created excitement and a sense of community for West Pullman residents, and even shaped Habitat Chicago's future plans and the development of our Neighbors United Block Improvement Grants.  

“Once we were out – a real sense of community took over. People were willing to go help in other areas of the block. Many of our associations don’t spread beyond one or two neighbors over. I learned names I never knew, got to know the family who has lived across the street from me for almost all if of all of my 20 years on the block. He said he watched my kids grow up! Wow! EVERYONE was determined to make an impact before they left that day. No complaints, no excuses, no “It’s too cold, or wet”. It was C’mon! We can DO this!” And so we did. And so we will continue to do.”
Diane, participating Block Build homeowner






Taking Notice

“Scratch the surface in the West Pullman neighborhood and you’ll quickly find a rich history.” 

Thanks to Maggie Carlo and WGN for capturing the, too often untold, resiliency, dignity, and determination of this community.    




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