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The Polk Bros. Foundation Affordable Rental Housing Preservation Award

When the Low-Income Housing Tax Credits used to develop the Malden Arms Apartments in Uptown into supportive affordable housing in the 1990s were expiring, Mercy Housing Lakefront brought together residents, community members, and layers of private and public financing to create a model for future efforts to both preserve and improve existing affordable rental housing.

Mercy Housing Lakefront took the opportunity of the resyndication of the tax credits to address the financial strength of the property and ensure its long-term affordability. Through a combination of rental subsidies from the Chicago Low-Income Housing Trust Fund and an innovative reserve account created by Mercy Housing Lakefront and the National Equity Fund, the financial viability of Malden Arms Apartments as affordable housing is secured for two more decades.

As a pilot project for the Clinton Climate Initiative and the City of Chicago’s Multi-family Energy Retrofit Program, Malden Arms is also a model for affordable housing projects looking to incorporate sustainable elements. With increased accessibility and green features like energy-efficient appliances and low-flow plumbing fixtures, Mercy Housing Lakefront ensured residents’ comfort while keeping operating costs low.

For preserving crucial affordable rental housing, creating a model for long-term financial viability and combining green features with housing responsive to the needs of low-income residents, Mercy Housing Lakefront is the 2010 winner of the Polk Bros. Foundation Affordable Rental Housing Preservation Award.