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A Case Study

Cook County Land Bank Authority Rebuilding Communities, Empowering Small Businesses

The Cook County Land Bank Authority's third annual home giveaway.  Photo by Yolanda Y. Harris

The Challenge: 

 

Many communities have struggled to rebound from the 2008 mortgage crisis that left them with abandoned properties and decreased property values. As a Rudd Resources consultant, Yolanda Y. Harris was charged with promoting the services of the Cook County Land Bank Authority and its work to revitalize communities by empowering small local developers, businesses and homebuyers to buy and rehab abandoned properties in Cook County.

The Results:  

The Cook County Land Bank Authority earned more than 30 media placements between 2019 and 2020 and saw a 34 percent increase in applications for its properties. Check out the results of the following campaigns:

The third annual home giveaway:

One lucky person was the recipient of the Cook County Land Bank Authority's third annual home giveaway in 2019. The giveaway raises awareness of the Land Bank’s Homebuyer Direct Program, which enables homebuyers to buy abandoned homes at rock bottom prices and rehab them. View the earned media placements.

New apartments for people with disabilities:

IFF, a real estate developer, partnered with the Cook County Land Bank Authority and created four new small-scale apartment buildings in Maywood for people with disabilities. The new apartments were featured in the Village Free Press and Chicago Construction News

500th property rehab:

Since its inception in 2013, the Cook County Land Bank Authority has empowered small local developers to buy and rehab vacant, abandoned properties. In the fall of 2019, a developer rehabbed the 500th property acquired from the Cook County Land Bank Authority. That rehab landed a front-page feature story in the Chicago Tribune

Impact of COVID-19 on floral shop:

The Cook County Land Bank Authority had just empowered the owner of Ambassador Floral to become owner of the building that houses her floral shop. Then COVID-19 hit.  The shop’s owner talked about the impact of COVID-19 on her business on CBS Chicago and in the Beverly Review.

The Strategy:

Yolanda Y. Harris leveraged various opportunities to raise awareness of the Cook County Land Bank Authority, including its annual home giveaway, its celebration for its 500th property rehab and its debut of newly-constructed housing for people with disabilities.  Central to her strategy was telling the stories of the developers who are rehabbing properties, the homebuyers who are now living in their dream homes and the small businesses who have expanded their operations because of the Land Bank.

The Cook County Land Bank Authority's third annual home giveaway in October of 2019. Photo by Yolanda Y. Harris

The Cook County Land Bank Authority's  500th property rehab in November of 2019. Photo by Yolanda Y. Harris

Small local developers thriving during COVID-19:

Small developers working with the Cook County Land Bank Authority were still buying and rehabbing properties  during the pandemic. That’s because the Land Bank makes abandoned properties affordable for small developers. Yolanda Y. Harris wrote their stories, which were featured in Citizen and Lawndale News

Written and designed by Yolanda Y. Harris, Communications Strategist