A small victory has been scored for affordable housing in Chicago. A few days ago there was a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Harrison Row Townhomes, a project from Structured Development.
Seven of the for-sale townhouses have been completed, and 43 more are on the way. While it’s a drop in the bucket considering that Chicago has an affordable housing deficit of 120,000 homes, it at least represents motion in the right direction.
The development is at 2849 West Congress Parkway, which isn’t too far out. It’s a block away from Altgeld Park, and three away from the CTA Blue Line’s Western Station. The neighborhood is that little slice of East Garfield Park that dips down below I-290.
Just important as the location is the size of the homes. They average 1,200 square feet. Housing advocates have long complained that when the city started requiring large real estate developers to build affordable homes, the mandated housing ended up being just studio and convertible scraps. This reinforces a stereotype that the people who need affordable housing are like Jake and Elwood Blues, and not a family of four. The Harrison Row homes reflect reality by having three bedrooms, and two-and-a-half bathrooms. They are being built as part of the city’s affordable housing mandate for Structured’s Big Deahl development in the Goose Island neighborhood.