Founded by Mattie C. Butler, WECAN (Woodlawn East Community and Neighbor) is a non-profit organization that was created after Butler witnessed the deaths of 13 children in an arson fire.
"And I vowed to God, I said 'God, if you let me, give me some peace with this, this will never happen again under my watch in this community'" -Mattie C. Butler
By October of 1980, WECAN had only just begun.
WECAN is a non-profit organization that servers Woodlawn and those residing in it. Since the fire in 1980, WECAN has refurbished four buildings, creating 145 units for those who are and near homeless. Having been financed by banks (LaSalle Bank, Cole Taylor Bank), the Secretary of State's Link Deposit Program has provided assistance and support to prevent decimation of Woodlawn's vintage, single-family homes.
Having become a neighborhood and citywide for saving at-risk and abandoned buildings and helping found Chicago Rehab Network of Community Developers (CRNOCD) WECAN operates 132 units of housing, supportive services, afterschool programs, and its own Housing Resource Center. Currently, WECAN has rental housing in the Eddie Mae & Alex Jonson Apartments, and 65th Place Apartments.