Affordable Housing

Advancing Affordable Housing Preventing Displacement of              Low-Income Families 

Communities United housing team, led by low-income renters, have made lasting impact to prevent the displacement of low-income families, from leading the fight against banks evicting families from foreclosed buildings, to engaging stakeholders to develop a model to preserve affordable housing. Building on key policy changes that sought the strengthening tenants living in foreclosed buildings during the housing crisis, CU leaders launched the Renter’s Organizing Ourselves To Stay (ROOTS) initiative, to develop proactive strategies to prevent displacement of low-income families across Chicago. 

ROOTS combines grassroots leadership development and organizing for systems-change by building partnerships with non-profit developers to prevent the displacement of low-income families. Through this model, ROOTS has led efforts to transition foreclosed, 2-4 unit buildings into affordable housing, and to date, has put 400 rental units in the preservation pipeline as part of building a scalable model for the city, and leading efforts to ensure the City of Chicago drastically invests in the preservation of affordable. 


  • 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 to become long-term affordable units and keeping low-income families from being displaced, developing a scalable model for the city

  • 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 fee to tenants. 

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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Communities United is a 501(c)3 non-profit. All donations are tax-deductible