By Judy Levey
Community Development Manager, Jewish Council on Urban Affairs
JCUA is proud to formally announce the Community Ventures, LLC, established in 2010, to streamline and revitalize JCUA’s longstanding Community Ventures Program (CVP).
The CVP has a long history of providing pre-development loans and technical assistance to community organizations that are seeking to develop and preserve low-income housing in their communities. Since 1991, we have partnered with dozens of organizations and have invested more than $4 million in zero percent interest loans, helping to create and preserve more than 3,000 units of affordable housing.
Loans are used for site acquisition, architectural fees, assessment and related expenses, providing hard-to-access early funding to help initiate important projects across the Chicago metropolitan area. Although housing prices have declined recently, rent payments remain out of reach for many Chicagoans, particularly those that have lost employment, experienced set-backs or salary reductions. Approximately half of all renters pay 30 percent of their income or more for rent, leaving fewer dollars for other basic necessities.
Community Ventures was started in 1991 by late board members Herbert Heyman and Howard Landau, who saw this program as a way to demonstrate their deep commitment to helping create opportunities for people in Chicago’s underserved communities.
This revitalized program allows JCUA to raise funds in advance of loan applications, thereby creating a pool of funds from which several projects can be funded. Herb and Howard were stalwart, long-time champions of CVP and the LLC is dedicated to their memory.
JCUA’s rich history of involvement in community development and affordable housing complements this program. Beyond lending funds, staff and lay leaders continue to provide technical assistance and access to expertise for emerging non-profits that are seeking to implement innovative and meaningful community-based projects. Currently, Community Ventures has loans with Bickerdike’s Zapata Homes and Preservation of Affordable Housing’s Woodlawn Park projects.
Please contact me, Judy Levey, at (630) 663-0960 ext. 113, Community Development Manager, for information on getting involved with the Community Ventures, LLC.