A new housing development in Chicago’s Logan Square is providing accessible housing where individuals with disabilities can integrate into the surrounding residential community.
Developed by Home First, the development arm of Chicago-based community development financial institution IFF, Access Housing is providing 54 units of affordable housing exclusively for people with disabilities on 25 scattered sites.
Access Housing was developed to improve the lives of disabled men and women and help address three consent decrees in Illinois to house institutionalized people in the least restrictive setting possible.
“It gives people a choice. This is an option for people who want to live in the community who are independent or can be independent through supportive services,” says Lisa Williams, director of Home First. “The majority of people in wheelchairs don’t need social services. They need housing they can get in and out of. Once they have accessible housing, they can live independently.”
The development, which has helped to stabilize neighborhood blocks in Logan Square, features the new construction of 13 two- and three-flat buildings on city-donated infill lots as well as the rehab of 12 buildings in foreclosure within a 2 ½-mile footprint. Each building was designed to complement the surrounding architecture on its block.
The one- and two-bedroom units meet Energy Star standards; incorporate universal design features, such as lowered switches, zero-grade thresholds, and strobes for audible alarms; and include significant wheelchair accessibility features.
Completed at the end of 2016, Access Housing targets renters who earn between 20% and 60% of the area median income; all units have rental assistance.
The $19.3 million development received strong support from the city and state, including donation tax credits, low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs), and money through the Illinois Affordable Housing Trust Fund. PNC Real Estate provided the LIHTC equity.