Through the Community Ventures Program (CVP), JCUA provides zero-interest affordable housing and economic development loans to non-profit developers and community development groups.

The Hatchery, a partnership between IFF, Accion Chicago and Industrial Council of Nearwest Chicago, will be 80,000 sf of new space for food and beverage entrepreneurs in East Garfield Park.
The Hatchery, a partnership between IFF, Accion Chicago and Industrial Council of Nearwest Chicago, will be 80,000 sf of new space for food and beverage entrepreneurs in East Garfield Park.

Obtaining seed-funding for the earliest stages of affordable housing projects presents a major obstacle to non-profits and community development groups looking to create affordable housing development and rehab projects in Chicago. Often these groups lack the necessary inroads to standard funding sources. In the current economic environment, more and more frequently, even experienced groups are being turned down for loans by traditional lending institutions.

Since its inception, CVP has provided $4.5 million in no-interest loans which has leveraged an additional $46 million in funding for their projects. Funds from Community Ventures partners have made it possible for the construction, renovation and preservation of more than 3,600 units of affordable housing in neighborhoods including Englewood, Humboldt Park, Bronzeville, Lawndale, Little Village, Pilsen, Uptown, Albany Park and Woodlawn, among other Chicago communities.

By providing pre-development funds at no interest, JCUA enables both small and more established groups to successfully implement their affordable housing and economic development projects without creating prohibitive debt. These funds also help to boost community groups’ financial credibility, thereby helping them to obtain future funding from traditional sources and conventional lenders. Ultimately, JCUA hopes that its investments serve as a catalyst for future meaningful development in areas which need it most.

Currently, CVP has three active loans:

  • The Hatchery – A new food and beverage business incubator in East Garfield Park that is expected to create over 900 jobs in the next five years.
  • North River Commission – Mayfair Commons, preservation of 97 senior affordable housing units.
  • St. Leonard’s Ministry – Gracie’s Café, a full service café that trains formerly incarcerated men and women for careers in the food service industry.