(Cook County) – The Housing Authority of Cook County (HACC) was joined today by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Congressman Bobby Rush, Joseph P. Galvan, HUD Midwest Regional Administrator, Mayor John A. Ostenburg of Park Forest, IL and Audra Hamernik, ED of IHDA to announce ongoing plans to improve affordable housing infrastructure in four communities of low-income housing in some of the poorest areas of Cook County.
Construction has officially begun on exterior and interior infrastructure improvements at five low-income housing properties that include 556 housing apartments located in Harvey, Robbins, Chicago Heights and Park Forest. The $75 million project will consist mostly of senior and disabled units. The Richard Flowers family site in Robbins will receive most of the financing to rehabilitate the family complex and includes a new playground. The project is projected to be completed at the end of the year and will provide workforce development training to residents, education and job opportunities in the south suburbs
The rehabilitation project was made possible through tax credits and loans from Cook County, the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA), and BMO Harris Bank – and is the single largest rehabilitation project the HACC has undertaken since 2005. By combining public and private funding, there is more flexibility to rehabilitate and repair existing infrastructure with a new flow of capital funds.
“This deal is represents the largest rehabilitation of affordable housing in the south suburbs at one time and reinforces Cook County’s commitment to invest in people and communities,” said HACC Executive Director Richard Monocchio.
Monocchio added that convenience was also a considering factor and none of the residents will need to relocate permanately during the construction phases.
Compared with 2016, nearly 11,000 fewer low-income units were financed through the federal credit last year.
The HACC is using the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) which gives public housing authorities the ability to leverage public and private debt and equity in order to reinvest in the public housing stock. Five housing sites will include a mix of units (one, two and three bedrooms). Four hundred fifty six units are for the disabled and seniors, and 100 for families.
The $20 million rehabilitation of the Richard Flowers Homes, located at 13900 Grace Street in Robbins is comprised of 100 units. Seventeen units will be converted from two-story townhouses to flats. Nine accessible units will be dedicated on the ground level and two units will be converted to visual/heating impaired units. Other property improvements include new accessible walks, a new playground, new storm doors, exterior windows, security screens and exterior improvements. Training and classes in workforce development, family self-sufficiency and after school activities will be offered at the community center. All residents will remain housed during construction to avoid any inconvenience.
Edward Brown Apartments
The rehabilitation of the Edward Brown Senior Apartments, located at 3210 W. 139th Street in Robbins is comprised of 73 apartments. All window air conditioning units will be replaced. A new fire pump controller, new appliances, water heaters and several units will be converted to visual/hearing impaired units.
Turlington West Apartments
The rehabilitation of the Turlington West Senior Apartments, located at 15306 Robey Street in Harvey is comprised of 150 apartments. All common areas will be made accessible with new flooring and paint. A new fire pump and controller will be installed and 15 units will be UFAS compliant and completely rehabilitated. Several units will be
converted to visual/hearing impaired units. Exterior improvements include new doors, windows, masonry repair, concrete replacement, parking lot and sidewalk resurfacing to comply with accessibility standards.
The rehabilitation cost for both properties is $28 million.
Golden Towers I&II
The rehabilitation of Golden Towers I&II, located at 1704-1706 East End in Chicago Heights is comprised of 127 apartments. New appliances, cabinets, plumbing fixtures and common area improvements, with accessibility upgrades are included.
Other improvements include masonry repair, elevator modernization, a new emergency generator and air unit, sidewalk and parking lot resurfacing with accessibility standards.
The rehabilitation of Juniper Tower, located at 350 Juniper Street in Park Forest is comprised of 106 apartments. Twelve units will become UFAS compliant and several units will convert to visual/ hearing impaired units. Other interior improvements include new flooring, elevator modernization replacement of fire pumps and condensing unit. A new roof and windows will improve the exterior. New sidewalk and parking lot resurfacing with curb cuts and ramps will enhance accessibility.
The rehabilitation cost for both properties is $26.5 million.
HOME Partnership funds have already been used in four HACC housing buildings with over 450 units of affordable housing for very low income seniors and disabled residents. Without HOME funds, these projects would not have happened and the buildings, built in the 1970s, would have outlived their useful life. Cook County has used this valuable tool to rehabilitate more than 4,500 distressed public housing units. By combining public and private funding, we have the flexibility to rehabilitate and repair existing infrastructure with a new flow of capital funds.
“HACC is self-developing the properties and we are excited to include these new building improvements into our portfolio leveraging more than $176 million in affordable housing. We are preserving the existing housing that we have so that families and seniors will have a a decent, safe place to live,” added Monocchio.
Most of the tenants are low income seniors and persons with a disability. Tenants whose income is at or below 60% of the area median income qualify to reside under the voucher program. The tenants pay 30% of their income toward rent, and federal subsidies cover the balance. The average income of current tenants is approximately $15,000.