Renters Organizing Ourselves to Stay

New Report by Communities United and Renters Organizing Ourselves to Stay (ROOTS), estimates that to prevent the displacement of the over 230,000 low-income Chicago households that are rent-burdened, a $25 billion investment over the next 10 years is needed. The future our city depends on this investment!

Click on the links: "Keep Chicago Affordable" & "Cost Analysis Methodology"

Renters Organizing Ourselves to Stay (ROOTS) was created as a way to limit the negative impact the foreclosure crisis had on 2-4 unit, rental properties in Chicago’s northwest side. Post-foreclosure, rental properties were systematically evicted, and often sold to investors to then be converted into high-end developments that long-time residents and working families could not afford. ROOTS is an innovative collaboration between Communities United (CU) Enterprise Community Partners, and Chicago Metropolitan Housing Development Corporation (CMHDC), and the Cook County Land Bank Authority (CCLBA), and aims to keep families in their homes and preserve traditionally affordable housing in Chicago’s gentrifying neighborhoods.

This is accomplished by:

  • Communities United targets, doorknocks and organizes renters in foreclosed properties, and engages elected officials to build the political will to make ROOTS successful
  • Enterprise provides up-front financing to help CMHDC immediately acquire foreclosed properties
  • CMHDC inspects, acquires and rehabs 2-4 unit properties, and manages and maintains them as long-term, affordable rentals
  • CCLBA helps hold properties and facilitate the use of of donation tax credits, which helps lower the rent

Through Communities United’s effort, they have obtained support from Congressmen Schakowsky, Quigley and Gutierrez, and Senators Durbin and Kirk, the Department of Planning and local Aldermen to pressure the nations largest foreclosing owner, Fannie Mae, to sell its foreclosed properties at a price that will maintain the affordability of the units. Thus far, 60 units, throughout 22 buildings, have been preserved as affordable housing and over 20 additional units are in the pipeline--renters in these units are anticipated to save over $2,300 a year as compared to market rents. Communities United hopes to work with other community partners to replicate this model in other parts of the city that are facing rapid gentrification as a result of properties being converted into high-end rentals.


If you have any questions or would like to learn more about our affordable housing work, please contact Charisma Thapa at [email protected] or at 773-583-1387

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