Interfaith Housing Development Corporation
Grove Apartments was named as a 2014 Affordable Housing Champion because it provides affordable living in a diverse community with access to supportive services, transit and job centers.
- By Breann Gala and MPC AmeriCorps VISTA Member Kaitlyn McClain
- April 23, 2014
Last night, Interfaith Housing Development Corporation’s Grove Apartments received the 2014 Affordable Housing Champion Award for Metropolitan Chicago. The award was announced at the Illinois Governor’s Conference on Affordable Housing, sponsored by Gov. Pat Quinn, Ill. Housing Development Authority (IHDA) and Ill. Housing Council, to a welcoming audience of developers, advocates and policymakers.
Grove Apartments, a development supported in part through MPC’s Regional Housing Initiative rental assistance subsidies, is located in the transit-rich, thriving and diverse Village of Oak Park. Formerly a long-vacant Comcast building, this attractive adaptive reuse development is now home to 51 low-income households, with many accessible units for persons with disabilities. Grove Apartments was selected for this award because it embodies many key focus areas of IHDA’s Annual Comprehensive Housing Plan including Integrated and Supportive Housing Settings, Linkages between Housing, Transportation, and Employment and the Preservation of Affordable Housing.
While Grove Apartments is now an asset to the community, the project initially faced strong opposition by its immediate neighbors who were critical of the density and affordable housing aspects of the plan. With strong support from the Village government and a collaborative effort between the Interfaith Housing Development Corporation, Cook County and the Oak Park Residence Corporation, Grove Apartments was ultimately approved because of the benefits it would bring to the community, like providing stability for families at-risk of homelessness and the renovation of a vacant building. Grove Apartments is a living example of how a strong development team engaged the community in an open dialogue and ultimately incorporated the community's input into their design and site plan.
MPC knows that in addition to community or political opposition, developers often have difficulty financing developments that create or preserve affordable housing. MPC recognized Grove Apartments’ immense potential and was an early supporter of the development through the Regional Housing Initiative. This development is just one of 23 projects completed with help from Initiative, a collaborative effort between the MPC, eight regional housing authorities and IHDA to provide operating subsidies to quality developments near transportation, job centers and schools. We applaud Grove Apartments and look forward to continuing to partner with developers and local municipalities to create vibrant communities and places to live across the city and suburbs.