Cook County Board of Commissioners Approves Two Housing Pilot Programs

The Cook County Board of Commissioners today approved resolutions for two pilot programs that will assist those seeking affordable, quality housing. 

The Bureau of Economic Development will launch a $3 million down payment assistance pilot program that will defray the cost of down payments, closing costs or buydowns on mortgages for Cook County residents, and a $12 million program to pilot the construction of single-family modular homes in communities of need. Cook County will utilize funds that it received through the American Rescue Plan Act. 

“These two programs will help provide quality, single family homes to Cook County residents who need help the most,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. “This new down payment assistance pilot will help home buyers navigate a grueling housing market, and our modular homes will inject an array of new housing in communities that have been historically disinvested.” 

The down payment assistance pilot, a $3 million effort, will launch in early June. It will provide subsidies of $20,000 or 5 percent of the home purchase, whichever is less. Eligibility requirements for this program are determined by income or location of the property. Interested buyers seeking to purchase in a Disproportionately Impacted Area are automatically eligible. Elsewhere, interested buyers earning up to 120 percent of the county’s median income are eligible. 

Single-family homes, condominiums and townhouses are all eligible property types; the property must serve as the applicant’s primary residence. First-time and repeat buyers throughout Cook County who meet those criteria may apply. 

Stifel, Inc. and Club 720 are partnering with the County on the program. "Club 720 has been serving buyers in the area for years, witnessing firsthand the demand for programs like this,” said Club 720 CEO Heather Presley-Cowan. “The $3 million infusion will enable us to serve even more buyers, making homeownership a viable option as rents continue to rise. We commend Cook County's leadership for their forward-thinking decision.” 

The Bureau of Economic Development has also developed a modular homes pilot, a $12 million program, in partnership with the Cook County Land Bank Authority. This program will lead to the construction of up to 120 homes across three under-invested communities with limited new home construction: the Chicago neighborhood of Humboldt Park, as well as the suburbs of Maywood and Chicago Heights. 

The average size of each modular home will be 1,450 square feet, with three bedrooms and two bathrooms. The sale price will vary depending on construction costs and subsidy amounts. Eligibility requirements for this program are determined by income or location of the property. Interested buyers seeking to purchase in a Disproportionately Impacted Area are automatically eligible. Elsewhere, those earning up to 120 percent of the County’s median income are eligible. The program will begin later this year. 

Modular homes have notable advantages, including shorter construction times, the reduction of waste during construction and the re-use of existing infrastructure. They are constructed in a factory-controlled environment on the west side of Chicago in North Lawndale and can transform a vacant lot into an owned home in four weeks.   

Inherent L3C, Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives, Ashlaur Construction and Bethel Family Resource Center are partnering with the County on the program. 

“We believe in the transformational power of homeownership, and the role that ownership plays in generational wealth creation,” said Inherent L3C founder Tim Swanson. “An Inherent home is a commitment to our fellow citizen, bringing the best of what we have to offer to the most people possible.” 

For more information on both programs, visit the Cook County Bureau of Economic Development website. 

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