City's Neighborhood Improvement Program Provides Grants For Home Repairs

Chicago’s must lamented TIF districts are as confusing as they are controversial.

Much has been written about their existence, their usefulness and their primary goal of spurring development in blighted areas.

Yet some Chicagoans might be surprised to discover that a component of some of the TIF districts is the little known Neighborhood Improvement Program.

Per the city’s website:

“The Tax Increment Finance-Neighborhood Improvement Program (TIF-NIP) is a Department of Housing and Economic Development  (HED) -administered program that has been providing home repair grants in eligible TIF districts since 1999. The program provides home repair grants for both single and multi-family residences. Grants are primarily for exterior repairs however, up to 30 percent of the grant may be used for interior repairs that are health and safety related. Grant amounts are based on the number of units per residence”

In short, it’s free money in order to make repairs to your home.

A little over a year and a half ago, I and every home owner in the Woodlawn TIF received a letter notifying us about the program.  I also sent an e-mail to my neighbors making sure they knew about the impending informational meeting.

Out of 18 condo owners, eventually enough of us applied and qualified for a grant to address some very serious facade problems with our building.

Yes, condo owners can take advantage of this program as well but it will work best if you all pool your grants and work on one big project.

Another bonus is that the Neighborhood Improvement Program partnered with Neighborhood Housing Services to provide construction assessments, a scope of the work and assistance with vendor selection.

All in all that’s a pretty good deal for filling out some paperwork.

As I stated earlier, the program isn’t very well publicized nor can you easily find a list of TIF districts. Additionally, not all TIF districts may not have neighborhood improvement funds available for grants.

Good luck trying to find out what TIF district you reside in.

I would assume calling the Department of Housing & Economic Development at (312) 744-4190 would be a good place to start with any questions.

For such a great program you would think the city would do a better job of getting the word out.

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