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The West Side is getting more affordable housing. On August 18, representatives from the Foundation for Homan Square, IFF, Bowa Construction, and the Cook County Land Bank Authority held a groundbreaking ceremony at 3300-3308 West Flournoy Street. in the Homan Square neighborhood. On four vacant lots, developers plan to construct four two-story buildings with 21 accessible units for people with disabilities. The project is part of a larger partnership between the Foundation and IFF to provide affordable housing for older residents and to address rising property values in the neighborhood, which threaten to price out long-term residents.
This is helpful as due to rapidly rising prices, first-time home buyers in Chicago are being priced out of the market, causing a ripple effect in the rental market. According to the Chicago Tribune, people who are unable to purchase a home are more likely to stay in rentals, driving up rental prices. Housing prices in Chicago are expected to rise nominally, while sales growth is expected to fall slightly. With market conditions like these, investing in rental property in Chicago could be a wise move this year, as more Chicago households rent rather than own. Property investors looking for an approachable gateway location in Chicago have a no-brainer option. It has a strong economy like the coastal markets of New York and Los Angeles, though some residents may find it cleaner and friendlier than the former.
This may also be helpful as disabled adults experience poverty at nearly twice the rate of nondisabled adults; nearly half of adults ages 25 to 61 who have lived in poverty for at least one year have a disability, and point-in-time counts indicate that nearly 25% of the more than 580,000 people experiencing homelessness in the United States on any given night have a disability.
This trend disproportionately affects disabled women and disabled people of color. Disabled people also have a higher proportion of medical debt, are more likely to be food insecure, and earn less money. Homelessness is exacerbated by these and other factors. Current information on housing insecurity during the COVID-19 epidemic is available from the ongoing Household Pulse Survey (HPS) of the United States Census Bureau.
The first wave of survey results, which included information on disabled renters, was made public by the bureau in May 2021, offering crucial insights into the home security of those who have trouble seeing, hearing, remembering, concentrating, walking, or mounting stairs.
Despite renter protections put in place during the pandemic, such as various federal, state, and local moratoriums on evictions and rental assistance programs, HPS data show that housing insecurity remains disproportionately high for people with disabilities. Federal policymakers should take bold steps to not only alleviate but also eliminate housing insecurity, both during and after the coronavirus pandemic.
On the two adjacent properties at 3654 West Polk Street and 3439 West Flournoy Street, where the groundbreaking took place, they will erect two residences. By August 2023, IFF plans to have the building completed.
In order to rehabilitate the site of the former Sears North Lawndale campus, local leaders established the nonprofit Foundation for Homan Square. A Chicago-based lender called IFF works with charitable organizations by offering loans and supporting real estate development.
The Foundation’s executive director, Kevin Sutton, stated that since 2018, they have been working to develop affordable housing at that location. The advisory board of the foundation wanted the nonprofit to expand its operations outside the boundaries of the former Sears property and to provide more accessible homes for persons with disabilities. “We want to do what the community wants us to do, which is to acquire vacant lots and bring more housing to the community,” said Sutton.
The renters will have “16 units at 30% AMI (area median income); 5 units at 60% AMI; All units are affordable, with no market rate. The rent for the other five units will be kept low to provide the most affordable options for potential tenants,” stated Laura Silverman, Director of Communications at IFF. Questions about the specifics of the design, such as how many units will be built on each lot and how many will be cheap, were not immediately answered by IFF.
Written By Dylan Santoyo
Edited by Sheena Robertson
Austin Weekly News: Homan Square Foundation breaks ground on housing for people with disabilities
Roofstock: The Chicago real estate market: Stats and trends for 2022
CAP: Recognizing and Addressing Housing Insecurity for Disabled Renters
Featured Image Courtesy of Brandon Blahnik’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Ray Sadler’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License