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Friday, January 24, 2014

Illinois Expands Affordable Housing Options for Individuals and People with Disabilities in Oak Park

OAK PARK, IL. – January 2014— A vacant building in suburban Oak Park has been transformed into quality affordable rental housing to enable low-income individuals and people with disabilities to live near work. On behalf of Governor Pat Quinn, Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) representatives today joined Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and other public-private partners to celebrate the grand opening of Grove Apartments. Developed by Interfaith Housing 

Development Corporation of Chicago (IHDC) and the Oak Park Housing Authority, Grove Apartments features 51 one-bedroom apartments for people earning 50 percent or less of the area median income (AMI), or $25,350 for individuals.

IHDA allocated federal low-income housing tax credits (Housing Credits) that generated $14.3 million in private equity. The massive renovation of a 1920s building that formerly housed Comcast, and a car dealership at Madison Street and Grove Avenue in Oak Park created an estimated 96 construction-related jobs.

 “Governor Quinn believes every individual has a right to a safe, decent affordable home so they can live independently in the community of their choice,” IHDA Executive Director Mary R. Kenney said. “Grove Apartments provides more affordable housing options for low-income individuals and people with disabilities and stabilizes the neighborhood by returning a vacant property to productive use.” 

Other financing for the project came from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) who committed a $143,122 grant, and Cook County who provided a $2 million federal HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) loan. In addition, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago will offer residents with special needs on-site services. 

As a result of IHDA’s federal Housing Credit allocation, 85 percent of the total development cost for Grove Apartments was funded with the private equity generated. Federal Housing Credits are a critical funding source for the state to create and preserve affordable housing. The need is great – the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University found half of all renters nationwide are housing cost burdened and pay more than 30 percent of their income toward rent.

 In 1986, Congress created the federal tax credit program to spur the development of affordable housing. The program is widely considered the most productive affordable housing financing tool in the nation. The sale of federal housing credits to private investors generates equity, and this equity reduces the need for the developer to borrow money for the new development. The savings result in lower rents. To date, the program has provided critical financing for the development of 75,000 affordable homes and more than 86,000 jobs in Illinois. This activity led to a return of $6.6 billion in local income for Illinois and $644.7 million in state and local tax revenue. 

Grove Apartments also includes commercial space on the first floor. Monthly rent is $690, including utilities. Six units are accessible, and two are equipped to assist those with hearing or vision impairments. Priority was given to people who work in Oak Park.

 “This grand opening is the culmination of a five-year effort to gain community support and funding to repurpose a vacant car dealership into affordable housing for persons who cannot afford the high rent typical in the Village of Oak Park,” said Gladys Jordan, president of Interfaith Housing Development Corporation of Chicago (IHDC). 

“We at IHDC are pleased that persons with physical disabilities are benefitting from this fully accessible development. We want to thank all those members of the community who boldly supported this development.” Residents began moving into Grove Apartments last October, and the building is now fully-occupied with a wait list.

For additional information about Grove Apartments, please contact Interfaith Housing Development Corporation of Chicago (IHDC) at (312) 274-8200 or the Oak Park Housing Authority at (708) 386-6061. 

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