Jack Markowski

Community Investment Corporation President Jack Markowski speaks on Sept. 3 as Mayor Lori Lightfoot looks on

Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced a $330 million infusion from local banks into the Community Investment Corporation (CIC) to help build affordable housing on the South and West sides. 

The Community Investment Corporation (CIC), founded in 1974, is a lender that finances development in low-income neighborhoods. The $330 million from the 40 banks who pledged money will go into the organization’s existing loan pool. 

“We’re talking about what’s called naturally occurring affordable housing,” said CIC president Jack Markowski at a press conference held in a South Shore building financed by the lender. “This is neighborhood housing that’s privately owned and privately financed. It’s owned by local small business entrepreneurs.” 

The program is expected to produce 7,000 units of affordable housing. Markowski said that there are no controls on rent, but that units would tend toward affordability because of the neighborhoods in which the apartments are located. 

“This is strictly market-based lending, but you have to understand that virtually all of the lending is on Chicago’s South and West sides in low-income communities,” he said. “For 35 years we’ve been doing this, we don’t have controls, and we have all the rents naturally in the market range from 700 to 1100 dollars a month.” 

Marisa Novara, the Department of Housing commissioner, said that private lending is important because the city doesn’t get enough federal funding to create a sufficient amount of affordable housing on its own. 

“We as a city do not receive the federal subsidies that we need to meet our needs. Nationally, for every four people that are eligible for subsidized affordable housing, only one receives it,” she said. “And that’s why the role of the CIC is so crucial — they lend in areas where others may not lend, they assist borrowers that others may not assist.” 

In Hyde Park, the CIC most recently helped finance the acquisition by Nautilus Investments of a 64-unit apartment building at 54th St. and Cornell Ave. in 2019. Rents for the building currently run between $825 and $900 for a studio apartment. 

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