Schakowsky Stands With ROOTS In Their Effort to Provide Affordable Housing

August 18, 2016
Press Release

CHICAGO –  Today, Rep. Schakowsky stood alongside the Renters Organizing Ourselves to Stay (ROOTS) partners, elected officials and Fannie Mae, the nation’s largest foreclosing owner, to announce the acquisition of 44 rental units that will provide stable, permanently affordable housing to an estimated 200 residents. ROOTS works by leveraging cost avoidance strategies to secure discounts up to 30% on foreclosed properties, allowing Enterprise Community Partners, the Cook County Lank Bank and CMHDC to acquire properties and preserve them as long-term affordable rental housing. As rents continue to rise across Chicago, community leaders have partnered with nonprofits, affordable housing developers, and government stakeholders to develop a model for preserving foreclosed properties in gentrifying areas as long-term affordable rental housing.

“Across our city families are struggling to deal with the rising rents that are pushing long-time residents and low income families out of neighborhoods they have lived in for decades,” said Rep. Schakowsky.  “Communities United led a unique and collaborative effort to save 44 units of affordable housing and halt the displacement of families, through Renters Organizing Ourselves to Stay (ROOTS). I was proud to work with Communities United, Fannie Mae, Chicago Metropolitan Housing Development Corporation (CMHDC), and local elected officials to preserve this affordable housing and I hope that this model can be used across Chicago and beyond.”

ROOTS is a collaboration between Communities United, Chicago Metropolitan Housing Development Corporation (CMHDC), Enterprise Community Partners, and Cook County Land Bank with support from Fannie Mae and both local and federal level elected officials. Below is an outline of how the model works and the role that each partner plays:

  • Communities United works with community residents directly impacted by gentrification to continually inform affordable housing solutions for low to moderate income families through ROOTS and engages elected officials to build support for the initiative
  • Enterprise Community Partners provides up-front financing, which allows for affordable developer CMHDC to compete with cash-investors and purchase properties quickly before they disappear from the market to be flipped for maximum profit in gentrifying communities
  • Chicago Metropolitan Housing Development Corporation (CMHDC)acquires, rehabs and manages foreclosed rental units, maintaining them as affordable for low to moderate income families
  • Cook County Land Bank Association acts as the intermediary for the transaction, allowing CMHDC to take advantage of Illinois Affordable Housing Tax Credits and lower rents for maximum long-term affordability
  • Fannie Mae—the nation’s largest foreclosing owner and the first financial institution to partner with ROOTS—sells their foreclosed, occupied properties at a discount up to 30% using cost-avoidance strategies, allowing for CMHDC to maintain the units as affordable and keep renters in their homes