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Community-Led Solutions to Preserve Affordable Housing

Our Work _ Affordable Housing 2.jpg
stop evictions

Democratizing Community Development 

CU housing leaders are making an impact across the city, uplifting their lived experiences and raising the urgent need to create and preserve affordable housing as key to creating and sustaining safe and healthy communities. 


Through Renter’s Organizing Ourselves to Stay (ROOTS), low-income renters have developed strategies to bring tenants, developers, and city officials to combine resources to create and preserve affordable housing, successfully putting over 400 units in the preservation pipeline to become long-term affordable units and keep low-income families from being displaced, developing a scalable model for the city.


ROOTS leaders along with community, research, policy, and service organizations from across the city helped launch the Chicago Flats Initiative, with the goal to coordinate resources and efforts to maintain families in the small 2-4-unit housing stock, which plays an important part in providing housing in communities of color.


  • Statewide efforts led to securing $400 million for COVID-19 emergency rental and mortgage assistance to support families impacted during the pandemic.

  • Citywide efforts have resulted in the creation of the City’s Preserving Existing Affordable Rentals (PEAR) program, modeled after the ROOTS initiative with $10 million set aside for the preservation of affordable housing.

  • CU’s ROOTS initiative has put over 400 rental units in the pipeline.

  • As a result of citywide efforts, Chicago has one of the strongest protections for tenants living in foreclosed buildings, forcing banks to provide leases or pay $10,000+ reallocation fees to tenants. 



For more information or to get involved, please contact us at or at 773-583-1387

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