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Affordable Housing in Chicago

January 4, 2022

interior renovation

Excerpt from a Chicago Tribune article, read it here

Is there a case where an outside investor makes sense? Per Young, the national nonprofit Preservation of Affordable Housing is a great example.

“About 12 years ago, they were the out-of-town investors,” she said. “They hadn’t done work in Chicago before, but what they brought with them was this expertise to do large-scale developments in a neighborhood. POAH came here from Boston with this capacity, and because they work so hard on the ground ... it really added value to that neighborhood and also the rest of the city.”

Bill Eager, senior vice president of Midwest real estate development for Preservation of Affordable Housing, said what made the difference for POAH was spending a fair amount of time making connections within the community, with individuals and local organizations. He said a lot of the early work was in Woodlawn — working with block clubs and tenant associations. Eager said POAH hired a director of community engagement full-time to help the organization build the network they needed to become part of the community that they wanted to be in.

“When we buy a property, we are not at all looking for short-term ownership. We’ll want to do a deal and be in it for 20 to 30 or more years,” Eager said. “I don’t think it’s outside versus inside with investors. I think the bigger question is are the people who are looking at the properties interested in being long-term stewards, putting the resources in financial and otherwise, to keep the properties healthy, or are they just looking to flip them in a few years. The question is: what are their plans once they’re here?”