Housing Initiative Transactional Clinic—Significant Achievements for 2021-22

The Housing Initiative Transactional Clinic worked on many innovative affordable housing and community development transactions during the 2020-2021 academic year:

Chatham Park Village Co-op

This limited equity housing cooperative is one of the oldest on Chicago’s south side. The co-op engaged the Housing Initiative Transactional Clinic for assistance in updating its governance documents and procedures, and its resale formula for sales of shares in the co-op.

Chicago Family Housing Community

The Housing Initiative represents this start-up, limited equity affordable housing cooperative as it seeks to close on the acquisition of its first building, on North Avenue on Chicago’s west side. The clinic has worked with the co-op’s founders on organizational documents, including bylaws, occupancy agreements, and membership share purchase agreements. The clinic then drafted and negotiated the purchase contract for the building acquisition. Closing on the acquisition financing is expected in late summer or fall 2022.

Claretian Associates Inc

This community development corporation in Chicago’s South Chicago neighborhood has been a force for neighborhood development and stability since the 1970s. The Housing Initiative has worked with Claretians on a wide variety of projects, including an upcoming low income housing tax credit development in conjunction with Interfaith Housing Development Corporation. In the most recent academic year, the clinic represented Claretians in acquiring vacant, formerly industrial land to be repurposed as affordable housing in a future Claretians’ project.

Community Male Empowerment Project

CMEP is a workforce development nonprofit that uses single family home renovations as the vehicle for supporting low income people seeking to enter the construction trades. The Housing Initiative Transactional Clinic represented CMEP in its ongoing home renovation partnerships. The clinic also closed on the extension of a credit facility for CMEP through a local nonprofit community development financial institution, the Chicago Community Loan Fund.

Common (Unity) Properties

The clinic worked with another housing organization startup, Common (Unity) Properties, on its plans for supportive housing for the homeless. The organization was originally conceived to compete in the Social New Venture Challenge through the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. The clinic’s work consisted of research and advice on individualized savings accounts to support the homeless population that would be served, and also research into zoning and building design for a contemplated ‘tiny home’ village that could be built under a townhome zoning designation that is common in Chicago. Although the graduate student team principals of Common (Unity) Properties have finished their time at the University, the organization is expected to continue post-graduation, and the clinic will stay involved as its business plan further develops.

Deborah's Place

Deborah’s Place is a leading provider of supportive housing for women dealing with the challenges of homelessness. The clinic’s work this past academic year consisted of negotiating a lease for office space that Deborah’s Place and another agency will use to provide supportive services for their clients. In addition, the clinic advised Deborah’s Place on bylaws updates for the organization and its affiliates.

Greater Chatham Initiative - Artists on the Nine

The Greater Chatham Initiative (GCI) is a nonprofit on Chicago’s south side that is engaged in the City of Chicago’s Retail Thrive program to improve commercial spaces in Chicago neighborhoods. This past academic year, the Housing Initiative clinic represented GCI in successfully closing on the financing and construction of co-working and gallery space for artists on the first floor of an apartment building in Chatham. The financing included a loan from Landmarks Illinois, a construction escrow arrangement with First American Title and Motus Construction, and a grant from the City of Chicago’s Retail Thrive program. Because the building is part of a designated historic district, the design of the commercial storefronts honors the historic features of the neighborhood.

Habitat for Humanity – Chicago

The Housing Initiative Transactional Clinic was engaged by Habitat for Humanity to advise them on the planning stages for their new townhome project in Chicago’s West Pullman neighborhood. The development will consist of new, single-family, energy-efficient homes to be purchased by families in need of affordable housing who commit to Habitat’s homeownership courses and completion of volunteer hours spent building their own homes. To date, the Housing Initiative Clinic has advised Habitat on options for forming the homeowner association and for the phasing of the development.

Housing Opportunities and Maintenance for the Elderly (H.O.M.E.)

H.O.M.E. is a longstanding nonprofit organization with a mission of helping Chicago's low-income seniors to live independent and socially engaged lives. The clinic had earlier negotiated and drafted a joint venture agreement between H.O.M.E. and another Chicago-area nonprofit, The Resurrection Project (TRC), for the development of ‘Senior Village II,’ which will provide multifamily affordable housing through an innovative intergenerational housing model. The next step for the clinic was to put in place the agreement with the architect who will be designing the development. Clinic students worked closely with the client’s executive director and development consultant to negotiate and draft the 24-page agreement, addressing such issues as the scope of work, timelines for completion of various design stages, owner approval rights, indemnification provisions, and dispute resolution and termination rights. With the architect under contract and the design work underway, the project has advanced to competing in funding rounds to obtain financing.

Kenwood Oakland Community Organization

KOCO is a leading local voice on community issues affecting low-income and working families in North Kenwood, Oakland and neighboring communities. Through the City of Chicago’s Invest South and West initiative, KOCO is engaged in redeveloping its headquarters to position itself to continue its neighborhood advocacy into the future. The Housing Initiative clinic was engaged to represent KOCO in negotiating and drafting the architect agreement for design services for the new headquarters. The site will include café space with commercial kitchen on the first floor, a food pantry and storage in the basement, and office space throughout the second and third floors.


The clinic represents LUCHA in its joint venture with Evergreen Real Estate Group for the development of a multifamily housing project with up to 220 affordable rental units, a community center, and healthcare and childcare facilities. The project will be located at the westernmost end of The 606’s Bloomingdale Trail, on the City’s west side, on a parcel that formerly was the site of the Magid Glove factory. In recent months, the clinic has counseled LUCHA on the organizational structure for the joint venture as the parties continue to refine their working relationship.

Neighborhood Housing Services

The Housing Initiative Clinic represents Neighborhood Housing Services in its role in “The Ave” development, an ambitious mixed use development planned for Chicago’s west side. Through a joint venture with KMW Communities and Preservation of Affordable Housing, NHS will renovate its West Side Hub office at the site, which will also feature 44 apartments, a rooftop garden, gym, restaurant and child care facility. To date, the clinic’s work has included negotiating and drafting the joint venture term sheet with NHS’s redevelopment partners, and researching Uniform Relocation Act requirements and benefits.

Oak Park Regional Housing Center

The clinic represents the Oak Park Regional Housing Center (OPRHC) in a joint venture with Heartland Alliance to construct a mixed-income, mixed-use development at the site of the historic Laramie State Bank building in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood on the west side. The project will achieve important historic preservation goals and bring new units of affordable housing and new commercial opportunities to the neighborhood. In recent months the clinic has counseled OPRHC on site assembly and financing issues as the project moves closer to identifying the needed capital sources for the construction of the project.

Pilsen Housing Cooperative

PIHCO is a limited equity co-op that was organized by longtime artist residents of Pilsen to carve out a space for low and moderate income families in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood. This past academic year, the Housing Initiative Transactional Clinic represented the co-op in its successful purchase of its second building in Pilsen. The closing involved extensive negotiations with the seller to give the co-op time to assess a vintage building, to market shares to incoming co-op members, and to line up its financing. Financing was provided by Self Help Credit Union, a nonprofit bank based in North Carolina, and clinic students negotiated the documents and executed the closing. Six co-op homeowners will now have a long term place in the community.

Saint John Baptist Temple Church Community Development Corporation

St. John’s Temple CDC has embarked on an ambitious, multi-parcel redevelopment effort in Chicago’s Chatham and Grand Crossing neighborhoods. Plans include affordable housing for seniors, a community center, and an adult day care center. This past academic year, the Housing Initiative Clinic has counseled the CDC leadership on site acquisition, working with the CDC’s developer consultant and design teams.

United to Preserve Affordability and Stability in Garfield Park

This newly formed organization grew out of an extended community planning effort spearheaded by the Garfield Park Community Council, the Institute for Housing Studies, and the Metropolitan Planning Council. The Housing Initiative Transactional Clinic assisted the loose coalition of nonprofits in organizing into a not-for-profit corporation that is poised to bring housing advocacy and services to an underserved part of Chicago’s west side. To date, the clinics’ services have included developing a set of bylaws for the organization, based on principles that emerged from the planning process. The next step will be to assist the new organization in obtaining tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status to assist it in its fundraising and service efforts.

Voice of the People of Uptown

The clinic works with Voice on the planning effort around the Diversity Land Trust, a proposed community land trust that would ensure long-term, even permanent, use of property for affordable housing. The clinic’s work has consisted of advising Voice on possible membership and governance structures for the DLT; the potential affordable housing requirements that the DLT might promote and enforce; and the range of potential benefits that the DLT might provide to members that participate in its program.