Enlace Chicago, a community development group serving Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood, has grown its staff from just five people in 2001 to more than 100 people today. But as its personnel grew, its physical space remained the same – leaving staff scrambling for private meeting places in homes, schools, and partner agencies. That all changes now.
Enlace just broke ground on a new 5,000-square-foot space that will include a multi-purpose room, private counseling rooms, a garden, and efficient administrative space. IFF’s real estate team helped locate and plan the site.
Enlace has long intended to expand its physical presence, putting together a comprehensive plan that received a $2 million grant from the State of Illinois in 2014. Then the state’s “spending freeze” put an indefinite hold on those plans. IFF partnered with Enlace to figure out what kind of expansion would be feasible without access to the majority of the grant – adjusting its budget, developing a phased construction plan, and designing a space to meet its rapidly growing and multi-functional needs.
The site expansion will allow Enlace to become a true ‘one-stop-shop’ for residents, providing a safe space to access public benefits, insurance and healthcare navigation, and immigration and legal aid. The space will also serve as a safe haven for neighborhood youth. According to Enlace Executive Director Katya Nuques, this new space will help the group reinforce the gains the community has made and serve around 50 percent more community members.
IFF’s real estate services were supported by a special grant from the Polk Bros. Foundation designed to assist grantees that are planning for new or renovated space. Thanks to the grant, IFF is able to offer some of its affordable consulting services at an even lower cost.