Housing Initiative Clinic -- Significant Accomplishments

November 8, 2013

The Housing Initiative Clinic provides transactional legal services to community-based affordable housing developers, tenant groups, and affordable housing advocacy groups. An illustrative project from 2012-13 is the clinic’s organization of a limited-equity co-operative on Chicago’s north side. The project is an affordable housing rental building financed with federal low-income housing tax credits and a first mortgage loan from the Illinois Housing Development Authority. The project’s owner and a group of long-term residents are working towards converting the rental building to a tenant-owned cooperative. In a co-operative structure, building residents own and manage their own housing through their membership in a not-for-profit corporation that owns the building. Over the past year, Housing Initiative Clinic students met numerous times with the residents to explore their goals for the project; to provide training on housing co-operative corporate structures, financing, and governance; and to present drafts of articles, bylaws, purchase agreements, and occupancy agreements that will be used when the co-op is up and running. The clinic has also represented the residents in the project team meetings that were conducted to assess the rehabilitation needs of building, and that work is ongoing. Along the way, clinic students have become intimately familiar with the federal housing programs that support the project, and have commenced negotiations with lawyers for the state housing finance agency to establish affordabilty restrictions for the project post-conversion.