Home First

IFF’s Home First initiative was created in 2011 as a full-service housing development group, tasked with creating new models of housing for people with disabilities. To date, Home First has developed over 300 units of  housing in nine distinct projects across Illinois.

Home First provides community integrated, affordable and accessible housing for people with disabilities of all types. Projects are located in communities with local supports and amenities, and buildings are new construction or fully rehabbed housing, providing stable long term housing options for this population.

Development is made possible through governmental resources including low-income housing tax credits and supportive housing programs. Supplemental funding is provided by private foundations, competitive grants, and additional loans and grants. Projects are supported with rental assistance to ensure the units remain affordable to residents for the long term.

Project sites are selected to create high quality housing on formerly underutilized sites including vacant land, foreclosed properties and village owned parcels. The resulting housing is deliberately low density, allowing residents the freedom to engage in their communities and supports as they choose.


IFF’s Home First program has been recognized by several local and national organizations, including:

  • 2021 – Featured in Chicago Architect Magazine and webinar, “New Chicago Housing”
  • 2019 – Coalition of Development Finance Agencies (CDFA) Program Award
  • 2019 – Community Neighborhood Development Award’s (CNDA) Polk Bros Foundation Affordable Rental Housing Preservation Award
  • 2019 – Charles L. Edson Tax Credit Excellence Award from the Affordable Housing Tax Credit Coalition
  • 2019 – Alan J. Rothman Award for Housing Accessibility from the American Institute of Architects and the Office of the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • 2019 – Nonprofit Developer of the Year Award from the Cook County Land Bank Authority
  • 2019 – Council of Development Finance Agencies National Conference Panelist: Innovative Financing Strategies
  • 2018 – Housing Matters! Illinois Housing Council Annual Conference: “Designing for Accessibility”
  • 2018 – Illinois Governor’s Conference on Affordable Housing: “Designing Housing for Independent Seniors and People with Disabilities”
  • 2018 – Vision Award from the Urban Land Institute