Groups that Fight for Affordable Chicago Real Estate Receive Grants to Further Missions

February 18, 2012

Two Chicago organizations have been honored for their work in increasing affordable housing and strengthening impoverished communities.

The Chicago-based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has named 15 organizations in six countries as recipients of the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions (MACEI). These awards honor those that address some of the world’s most pressing problems in creative ways.

Among the recipients is the Business and Professional People for the Public Interest (BPI), a group that helps thousands of Chicago families on a daily basis find decent,  affordable housing.

“Conditions in many neighborhoods have dramatically deteriorated as a result of the foreclosure crisis and economic downturn. Confronting this difficult challenge, attorneys and policy specialists from Business and Professional People for the Public Interest (BPI) work to transform isolated public housing into healthy mixed-income communities, increase the availability of affordable housing throughout the region, improve Chicago’s public schools and promote open and honest government in Illinois.”

BPI received a $750,000 MACEI grant and will use the money to further its operations and redesign its website.

The other local organization to receive a grant is the Community Investment Corporation, which provides financing to to developers to buy and rehab multi-family apartment buildings and help stabilize Chicago neighborhoods.

“Historically, Chicago has worked to mitigate the impact of vacant, mismanaged and deteriorating multifamily properties in the city’s neighborhoods through aggressive code enforcement and court action against weak property owners. However, code enforcement on seriously code-deficient multifamily buildings often leads to abandonment and subsequent demolition, which results in increased blight and loss of affordable rental units. To address these unintended consequences, the City of Chicago works with Community Investment Corporation (CIC) to change the trajectory of troubled buildings from abandonment and demolition to viable rental properties that can help stabilize communities.”

The CIC received a $2 million MACEI grant and will also use it to further its cause.

To read more about the organizations or all the MACEI grant winners, visit macfound.org.

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