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Multifamily Housing Incentives Program

Oak Park, Cook County

The Multifamily Housing Incentives Program allows the Village to address a broad array of issues. Using local general revenue funds gives the Village flexibility to implement more creative programs and policies.

Goal

To maintain the quality of an aging housing stock and assure compliance with Village goals for racial diversity.

Target

Owners of apartment buildings with four or more rental units in the Village of Oak Park.

Financing

General revenue funds.

Success

Between 2008 and 2013, 19 percent of all multifamily buildings in the village participated in the Multi-family Housing Incentives Program, the most popular Village housing program.

Lessons learned

Using local funds provides a municipality with the flexibility to effectively address unique local housing issues.

Background

During the 1970s, much of Oak Park’s housing stock was comprised of aging multifamily buildings. A group of owners and managers of these buildings began meeting with Village officials to discuss what could be done to properly maintain and repair them, and keep many of them affordable to Oak Park’s population. Out of these meetings came a creative plan to establish a Village-sponsored grant and loan program specifically aimed at improving deteriorating multifamily properties. The village subsequently initiated a housing bonds program that provides grants and loans to rehabilitate small (two to four unit) properties, improve security systems, and renovate or replace building garages.

The grant and loan programs allow the Village to address a broad array of issues, including deteriorating housing, perceived safety issues with aging buildings and blight. Using local financing to address these issues gives the Village flexibility to implement more creative programs and policies than would be possible under standard government loan programs.

How it works

Multi-unit building rehabilitation

Under the Village’s Multifamily Housing Incentives Program, owners of multifamily properties (four or more units) can receive matching grants of up to $1,000 per unit ($1 of Village money for every $2 contributed by the property owner) for rehabilitation. As a condition of receiving these funds, building owners sign a Marketing Services Agreement to list vacancies through the Oak Park Regional Housing Center, which promotes racial diversity within the Village’s rental housing stock. If a building involved in the grant program is sold within five years after the grant is made, the entire grant plus interest must be repaid to the Village.

Between 1997 and 2004, Oak Park allocated close to $5 million to the Diversity Assurance Program, almost 90 percent of all of its expenditures for housing programs during this time.

Only two Village officials are needed to administer the program. By making the program locally based, the Village can set its own rules and regulations and avoid some of the constraints and onerous regulations typically associated with federal programs.

Contact

Department of Community Development, Village of Oak Park
708-358-5410, housing@oak-park.us, www.oak-park.us

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