Chicago Department of Housing Celebrates Passage of Ordinance Enabling PEAR Program Acquisition

December 13, 2023

The Chicago Department of Housing (DOH) is pleased to announce the successful passage of an ordinance through City Council today, authorizing the acquisition of three strategically located buildings via DOH’s Preservation of Existing Affordable Rentals (PEAR) program.

Overseen by Carlos Robles-Shanahan and Rafael Robles, executive directors of Duo PEAR and sponsors of this initiative, the acquisition aims to preserve affordable housing in Chicago’s Hermosa, Belmont Cragin, and Albany Park neighborhoods over a 30-year period.

More specifically, the three buildings are located at 2537 North Lowell Avenue, 2904 North Linder Avenue, and 4510 North Central Park Avenue. Collectively, these buildings comprise eight units, each of which will be designated as 100% affordable at or below 80% area median income (AMI).

Residents will have the opportunity to become co-investors in the buildings, sharing in potential returns. Tenants will also have the option to be treated as investors by incorporating a portion of their monthly rent as an equity contribution, promoting wealth-building during the rental period. Additionally, the project will explore various models of housing affordability, including free housing and wraparound tenant services to encourage homeownership.

The lead lender for this significant transaction is the Illinois Facilities Fund (IFF). The senior IFF loan will undergo a reduction and resizing facilitated by a proposed $1000,000 in PEAR loan assistance. Importantly, none of the units require major rehabilitative work.

Duo Development is actively seeking assistance from Elevate Energy, a Chicago-based nonprofit dedicated to providing residents with clean and affordable utilities. While potential future collaboration with Elevate Energy is part of the project's preliminary plan, it does not impact current financing costs.

Hermosa, Belmont Cragin, and Albany Park are predominantly Hispanic or Latino neighborhoods. Each area has a significant percentage of households spending 30% or more of their income on housing costs. To maintain 100% affordability, Duo is collaborating with Communities United, a community-led racial justice organization that actively promotes affordable housing, immigrant rights, and other causes through collective action. Communities United's strong presence in these neighborhoods is evident through their work on the ROOTS (Renters Organization Ourselves To Stay) initiative.

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