Loan program promotes affordable housingBy Jennifer Carnig
The University is making available $1.25 million in loans and grants to area social service organizations in an effort to improve housing and quality of life for residents living in its surrounding neighborhoods.
By combining a $1 million loan from the University with $9 million from a major Chicago not-for-profit leader, the Community Investment Corporation, the University has helped to create a new $10 million program to promote the availability of affordable housing in Woodlawn, Washington Park, South Shore and the Quad Communities of Grand Boulevard, Kenwood, Oakland and Douglas.
The new program will provide financial assistance by lending to developers and owners interested in rehabilitating existing multifamily homes. The goal of the program is to help preserve affordable rental housing that is currently at risk of being torn down or converted into condominiums.
To be approved for a loan in this program, owners need to provide only 10 percent of the property’s appraised value, instead of the 20 percent required by most banks. Because of the University’s investment, the Community Investment Corporation was able to create the new program, which offers loans that most financial organizations would deem risky because they are provided with no interest charge.
“The University is committed to the development and sustainability of vibrant, mixed income, diverse communities on the mid-South Side of Chicago,” said Hank Webber, the University’s Vice President for Community and Government Affairs. “Ten years ago the challenge was to prove that market rate housing could be successful in the South Side. Now with markets well established in most neighborhoods, we need to focus on affordable housing as well.”
In addition to the loan, the University also is offering $250,000 in grants to the Local Initiatives Support Corporation for quality-of-life projects in Woodlawn, Washington Park and the Quad Communities, with $100,000 earmarked for projects that support and maintain affordable housing.