Sunday, January 08, 2012

Vacant condos ripe for accessible, affordable housing -

Vacant condos ripe for accessible, affordable housing -
Two local organizations, IFF and Access Living, are in the early stages of developing a new model of affordable housing, first in Chicago and then throughout Illinois, for people with disabilities who want to live on their own.

Armed with a budget of slightly more than $19 million, the Home First Illinois program also will take a crack at filling up some of the city's empty condominiums. That's because the program revolves around the idea of placing people with disabilities in scattered-site housing rather than grouped together in state-funded or private institutions.

"It's a new model for affordable housing," said Michelle Hoereth, director of housing for IFF, a nonprofit lender and real estate consultant that helps nonprofit organizations in the Midwest. "We can purchase condos that are foreclosed, in a short sale or the owner just wants to sell. There are plenty of units that aren't distressed but are vacant."

The money comes from the state, Chase bank, and the Chicago Community Trust. The owner of these units will be IFF, and will rent the units to the tenants. IFF will be checking the condo association finances carefully, they say: "You don't want to buy into a financial mess," Giornalista said. "At the end of the day, I think condo associations should welcome our purchases because now they're going to have an institutional investor in their building. It means their assessments are going to be paid on time."

What I don't see in this article is the issue of ADA accommodations for these disabled tenants. Renovation of the individual unit would be up to IFF, but what if there are accommodations needed in the common areas? Who pays for that?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great idea.
I wish that these projects were mandated to have a certain percentage housing quasi-ADA compatible.

That doesn't necessarily mean building in handgrips and rails - such things can always be added on later. However, some percentage of the homes should be required to have doorways and thresholds capable of accommodating a wheelchair or walker. These "standard door widths" used in production homes are completely inadequate from an accommodation standpoint. Two other factors would include a number of single story homes which are both single story and single level.

Otherwise what you have is de-facto discrimination by making it costly for homeowners to have to retrofit. They should also be immune from having to pay "architectural committee review" fees or any dealings with architectural committees for such improvements.