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Going door to door to keep homes affordable

Evictions and foreclosures are hanging over the heads of many low- and moderate-income families in Chicago’s Black and Latinx communities as pandemic-related moratoriums end. To avert these potential crises, local community groups are coming together to form the Chicago Flats Initiative, whose goal is to provide short- and long-term assistance in the form of resources and counseling.

Thinkinc. worked with Communities United to build a broad base of support throughout the city for the Chicago Flats Initiative. Community organizations on the South, West, and Northwest sides launched this program, going door to door to spread the news. The focus is on two- to four-flat buildings, which make up 26% of Chicago’s housing stock overall and 35% of all rental housing.

Thinkinc. secured widespread media coverage, including in Block Club Chicago, the Chicago Sun-Times and WTTW.

The articles pointed out that two- to four-flat buildings play a particularly important part providing housing in communities of color making up 45.8% of all residential housing units in majority Hispanic/Latino neighborhoods and 29.8% in majority-Black neighborhoods compared to 15.3% of units in majority-white areas.

“Addressing the potential wave of evictions and foreclosures is key to Chicago’s ability to stabilize families and communities,” said Seneca Oaddams, a Communities United board member. “Our initiative is made up of outreach, financing, policy and direct service organizations that have come together to preserve and maintain families in these small multi-unit homes. This is particularly important now, in a housing market that is prime for cash investors to take advantage of an anticipated foreclosure crisis that will affect both renters and owners.”

Initiative organizations include Communities United, Elevate Energy, Enterprise Community Partners, Garfield Park Community Council, Greater Chatham Initiative, Institute for Housing Studies at DePaul University, Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago, The Preservation Compact, and Resident Association of Greater Englewood.