On Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012, the community of Oak Park broke ground on Grove Apartments, thanks to the perseverance and commitment of the Interfaith Housing Development Corporation (IHDC) and the Oak Park Housing Authority (OPHA). These organizations have worked consistently over the last four years to bring to fruition this attractive development that will provide new opportunities for people to live in Oak Park and contribute to the redevelopment and growth occurring in the Madison Street corridor.
Ed Solan, Executive Director of the Oak Park Housing Authority Executive Director, Gladys Jordan, Executive Director of the Interfaith Housing Development Corporation, Herman Brewer, Cook County Bureau Chief of Economic Development, and other supporters gather for the ground breaking.
Grove Apartments will transform the former Comcast building, a previously vacant space, into 51 affordable and quality homes for families needing supportive services. The building’s historic exterior will be restored, while the interior will be gutted and rehabbed. Housing of this caliber is a regional asset, particularly because it is located in job- and transportation-rich Oak Park. Grove Apartments not only provides new residences and services to local families, it also helps stabilize the neighborhood through the reuse of a blighted and vacant lot.
Grove Apartments is not only a story about the commitment and perseverance of IHDC and OPHA overcoming local opposition, but also about the collaboration and relationships involved in creating community assets. The development has received additional support from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Cook County Bureau of Economic Development, Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco, Chicago Community Loan Fund, Citi Bank, Illinois Housing Development Authority, Local Initiative Support Corporation, Richman Group Affordable Housing Corporation, and Regional Housing Initiative. While layering together the above financing is a complex undertaking, it demonstrates that we can achieve big things when government and private sectors work together.
Here at MPC, I help support the Regional Housing Initiative, a collaborative effort between MPC, eight regional housing authorities, and the Illinois Housing Development Authority to provide operating subsidies to quality developments near transportation, job centers, and schools. The collaborative has recognized that despite the weak housing market, rents continue to be high and many families still cannot afford the cost of housing. Grove Apartments, a development supported through the Regional Housing Initiative, is exactly the type of quality housing that the region needs to stabilize neighborhoods and remain a balanced, equitable region.
I look forward to the ribbon cutting.
MPC Research Assistant Christina Scordia contributed to this blog post.