Equitable Community Development at IFF

IFF serves as a turnkey developer to launch community-driven projects. At the end of 2020, we had 18 projects under development, representing 442,000 square feet and $179 million in value. But we aren’t driven by size and value — it’s the why and how we do this work that matter most.

IFF engages in development to fill a gap between community need and traditional developers’ reach. We use the same tools as other developers, but our timeframes aren’t as tight and our margin expectations aren’t as high. We want to complete projects that communities want, and we make time to do things the community’s way. Our end goal is community ownership, which builds community wealth.

While every development project is unique, here’s how IFF’s community-driven development work often unfolds:

  • First, the community has a vision — something ambitious, but something very much needed and demanded by the community, often reflected in local economic development efforts or neighborhood plans.
  • Second, there’s a critical mass of ingredients that come together — say, a specific building or site that’s ideal for realizing that community vision, along with a mix of partners and backers that make it seem likely to succeed.
  • Third, IFF — at the request of the community — can do the following:
    • Purchase the building, on a short-term ownership basis, to secure it for the community purpose.
    • Begin leading the design and construction process with architects and contractors so the project gains momentum and attracts more partners and investors. Because of IFF’s commitment to equity, this work includes a thoughtful procurement process.
    • Partner with community leaders to help finalize project plans and long-term financing. This work enables a community-oriented group to buy the building back from IFF when ready — thus retaining the asset in the community.

Explore IFF’s past and present development projects below.

Completed: December 2020

Access West Cook - Maywood, Bellwood, Berwyn, and Forest Park, IL

The development of 42 units of integrated rental housing across Bellwood, Berwyn, Forest Park, and Maywood.  Utilized a 9% tax credit award from Illinois Housing Development Authority.  The project rehabbed or replaced 16 abandoned and foreclosed buildings to provide permanent supportive housing for people with disabilities.

Completed: June 2020

Community Living Initiative - Illinois

IFF’s Home First developed and owns 28 units of housing in seven group home across northern Illinois. These small group homes for people with developmental disabilities, financed with IFF and Illinois Housing Development Authority loans, are leased to service providers. This pilot program was created to demonstrate new models for small community-based supportive living facilities. The homes will serve no more than six individuals, and the buildings are fully accessible. Total development costs: $4.5 million.

Completed: February 2017

Access Housing - Chicago, IL

Through its subsidiary, Home First, IFF developed and owns 54 units of universally designed, community integrated housing across 25 sites in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood. Home First assembled Low Income Housing Tax Credit equity, grants, and loans to develop 25 two-to-four flats for people with disabilities. The Energy Star-certified project combined new construction and rehabilitation on foreclosed sites. The project provides long-term affordability in a rapidly gentrifying community. Twenty percent of units are wheelchair accessible. Total development costs: $19.3 million

Completed: 2015

Home First Illinois Accessible Housing Initiative (IAHI) - Chicago, IL

Using $15 million in state capital funds, IFF’s Home First acquired 70 condominiums in 17 buildings in Chicago and Cook County and made them accessible for people leaving nursing homes.  Residents are referred by state-contracted agencies. IAHI is the only project in the state specifically designed to implement the Colbert Consent Decree. Total development costs: $16.5 million.

Completed: December 2015

Access Peoria - Peoria, IL

IFF’s Home First leveraged grants from the Illinois Attorney General, Illinois Housing Development Authority, and the City of Peoria to develop 16 fully accessible units for persons with disabilities in eight duplexes in Peoria’s East Bluff neighborhood. Total development costs: $4 million.

Under Development

Access Health and Housing - Maywood, IL

20 units of new construction, community-integrated housing to be built on vacant city or Cook County Land Bank owned parcels created specifically for Olmstead populations.  IFF received a Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) grant from IHDA and is partnering with Loyola Hospital and Trinity Health.

Under Development

Homan Square Housing - Chicago, IL

Overseeing immediate repairs and then the eventual recapitalization of Homan Square Phases I and IV developed in 1994 and 1998, respectively. The project will make necessary improvements and right-size the capital stack to preserve 158 units of affordable housing through a 4% bond financing.

RFP: General Contractor Services for the Foundation for Homan Square Permanent Supportive Housing Project

Location: Chicago

Sector: Housing

The IFF development team is seeking responses to a Request for Qualifications for General Contractor for the construction of 21 units of housing across three vacant sites. The project will bring safe, affordable, and accessible housing to the Homan Square community. Learn more in our Q&A.

Request RFP

RFP: IFF Residential Property Management

Location: Chicago

Sector: Housing

IFF is seeking responses to a Request for Proposals for the property management of 166 units of affordable housing in three separate scattered-site developments.

Request RFP