As part of Cook County’s commitment to Fair Housing Month this April, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle  announced an on-going partnership with Habitat for Humanity Chicago South Suburbs (HHCSS) to acquire and rehabilitate foreclosed properties.“We are thrilled to partner with such an important institution to help make our suburban communities more economically viable and vibrant,” President Preckwinkle said. “When you take part in rehabilitating your own place of residence it becomes more than property, it is part of your stake in the community. That commitment strengthens our neighborhoods while making them more robust economically.”

 The County’s Bureau of Economic Development has contributed over $4.2 million in funding to support the redevelopment of vacant, foreclosed or abandoned properties in partnership with HHCSS to meet the need of low-income families in south suburban Cook County. Cook County is leveraging federal HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) and Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) funds to support 28 affordable housing units for qualified residents. Four of the 28 homes have been fully rehabilitated and sold.

At a dedication ceremony Saturday for one of the completed homes in Park Forest, IL, County officials and HHCSS members celebrated their continued commitment to eradicating blight in Cook County’s communities. David Tracy, Executive Director for HHCSS, praised the collaborative efforts to date and pledged to continue to work towards creating more vibrant neighborhoods throughout Cook County’s south suburbs.

“One year ago, the house we dedicated was a blight on the neighborhood but today, it is a warm, safe, energy efficient home for a family of four,” David Tracy said. “We’re very proud of the commitment shown by our partner families, our many volunteers, our construction crews and staff at our office and at the Bureau of Economic Development— all of who work tirelessly to put roofs over the heads of the members of our communities.”

HHCSS is a non-profit organization established in 1988 that develops affordable housing opportunities for low-income families. Over the next several months, our blog will continue to publish stories and photo essays about Cook County’s partnership with Habitat for Humanity.