Dale Braithwaite
Chicago, Illinois
CDFI: South Shore Bank
Loan type: Affordable housing development loan

Several years ago, Dale Braithwaite, a Chicago real estate agent, received her first loan from the South Shore Bank to rehabilitate a property in the South Shore area.

"My father was a carpenter so I had an understanding of what he did. I came up in a family of eight girls so we learned how to do things the guys did, Then, when I got to Chicago, I decided that this was the direction that I wanted to go."

Dale became one of many local residents in the South Shore community who has received loans from the South Shore Bank to rehabilitate large multifamily apartment buildings, many previously owned by absentee landlords. "I decided that real estate would be interesting; not just something like a condo but investing in larger properties and doing what was necessary to revitalize properties in communities that have sort of taken a wrong direction. I wanted to help bring back the communities that we live in."

A single derelict building can threaten the stability of an entire neighborhood. The first building Dale bought was in seriously deteriorated condition. As Floyd Dunn, who lived across the street, put it, "Where she's got it fenced in now, that used to be wine bottle row. People would come there and congregate with their wine bottle from her fence to the corner, sit there and run their mouths in all kind of language until I'm almost time to go to work at twelve o'clock."

Another neighbor, Linda Banks, described the mood on the block, "We was nervous, because at the time, when Dale came in, we had lost three families in the neighborhood that had been here as long as we had. We were thinking about moving and Mrs. Dunn and them, everybody, was thinking about moving, and about how much the property value was going to change, and if we should get out now or just wait. So, I think a lot of decisions about what we were going to do was really banking on what Dale would truly do over there."

Because of Dale’s commitment, and the support and advice of the South Shore Bank and other local rehabbers, the building is now remodeled and rented out to families who are contributing to the stability of this neighborhood.

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