Location: Chicago, Illinois
Project Description & Impact: 45 affordable homes for families built on scattered sites (formerly vacant lots) in Humboldt Park and Logan Square near the 606 elevated trail
Client: Latin United Community Housing Association (LUCHA)
Financing Tools Used: Low Income Housing Tax Credits, HOME, AHP, etc.
The Story Behind this Project
LUCHA (the Spanish word for “struggle”) advances housing as a human right by empowering communities- particularly the Latino and Spanish-speaking populations- through advocacy, education, affordable housing development and comprehensive housing services. Founded in 1982, LUCHA is both a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-approved housing counseling agency as well as a Community Housing Development Organization (CHDO) which owns and operates 198 units of affordable rental housing throughout West Town, Humboldt Park, and Logan Square.
Tierra Linda is LUCHA’s first sustainability-oriented development, bridging affordable housing with green technology for low-income residents of the City of Chicago. Located along the 606 elevated trail, Tierra Linda represents LUCHA’s commitment to transforming communities through community development and increasing neighborhood access to people who might otherwise fall through the cracks of Chicago’s increasingly exclusive housing market. Moreover, it is a step towards an equitable affordable housing field which approaches development through the lens of environmental sustainability and healthy housing.
One of the six-flat Tierra Linda buildings will also feature a Passive House – the first multifamily Passive House of its kind in Illinois. This Passive House advances LUCHA’s commitment to green and sustainable housing by the following enhancements which lead to increased heating and cooling efficiency and thus decreased energy costs for renters. The Passive House employs continuous insulation to mitigate thermal bridging, air sealing, high efficiency windows at the exterior shell and utilizes balanced heat and moisture recovery ventilation optimizing indoor comfort and air quality.
LUCHA sees the Passive House–and Tierra Linda as a whole–as a testament to the fact that everyone deserves access to high quality housing and healthy space to live. High quality affordable housing and community health are linked. Humboldt Park faces significant health disparities linked to food security, the quality of local schools, and community safety. LUCHA’s newest affordable housing development, Tierra Linda, was designed with resident health in mind. LUCHA was selected by Enterprise Community Partners to participate in a pilot program for the creation of a Health Action Plan (HAP) to accompany the Tierra Linda building development project. The HAP is informed by quantitative data from public health databases as well as qualitative data from community focus groups. Using this data, three priorities are identified in the Health Action Plan: 1) Healthy Eating and Active Living, 2) Stress, Depression and Mental Health, and 3) Respiratory Health including Asthma. The HAP lays out strategies for healthy building design and health programming as related to affordable housing living. The plan prioritizes community programming actions that will promote health for Tierra Linda residents and residents of LUCHA’s other developments, as well those in the surrounding community.