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Aurora council OKs scattered-site affordable housing plan

The Brinshore-completed Lindsay Heights development Milwaukee Wis. will be 'very similar' Aurora's scattered-site project according AHA Executive Director Keith Gregory.

The Brinshore-completed Lindsay Heights development in Milwaukee, Wis. will be "very similar" to Aurora's scattered-site project, according to AHA Executive Director Keith Gregory. | Aurora Housing Authority, submitted photo

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Updated: February 18, 2014 6:18AM

AURORA — The city will kick more than $500,000 in federal dollars toward a project that will redevelop foreclosed homes into affordable housing in Aurora.

Aldermen unanimously approved an agreement with the Aurora Housing Authority and Brinshore Development, LLC at a meeting this week. The agreement makes way for the city, AHA, and Brinshore, a for-profit firm, to develop scattered-site affordable housing in the city.

Under the plan, Northbrook-based Brinshore Development will purchase and rehab 40 foreclosed homes into affordable rental housing. City officials first announced Aurora would pursue the joint initiative in October 2013.

The city will kick $524,000 in federal funds toward the project, according to Rick Guzman, Aurora assistant chief of staff. The city receives the federal dollars from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Now that the city has approved the scattered-site model, the Housing Authority will now send the plan to HUD for approval, AHA Executive Director Keith Gregory said Wednesday.

The AHA will not own or operate the new scattered-site housing. Instead, the Housing Authority will provide 40 Section 8 housing choice vouchers to help subsidize the rents paid by the low-income residents.

Brinshore Development agrees to rent the 40 single-family homes to Housing Authority clients who have Section 8 vouchers. The properties will be managed by a third party firm, Chicago-based Leasing and Management Company Inc., according to Richard Sciortino, principal of Brinshore Development.

Brinshore will work with the AHA to examine the entire city to determine the best opportunities for acquiring scattered-site homes, Gregory said. Tenants will not be concentrated in one place, Gregory said.

“We have encouraged (Brinshore) to look in some of the higher income areas of the city where foreclosures may exist, however we have not ruled out any section of the city,” Gregory said. “We are not limiting their ability to seek out units.”

On average, Brinshore will spend $75,000 to buy and $160,000 to rehab each property, Guzman said.

Alderman Richard Irvin, At-large, said the scattered-site project is exactly where the city should be heading with affordable housing. As a kid, Irvin lived in the AHA’s Indian Trail public housing complex for more than 10 years.

Rick Lawrence, who formerly served as 4th Ward alderman, said former Jericho Circle public housing residents received relocation vouchers to rent Section 8 housing. The city’s scattered-site plan “is not replacing anything,” he said.

“When did the AHA become a good steward of affordable housing? When did that happen?” Lawrence asked his former Council colleagues.

At the meeting, Alderman Lynne Johnson, 10th Ward, asked if Brinshore would pay taxes on the properties they purchase.

Because Brinshore is a private, for-profit developer, the properties will remain on the city’s tax rolls, Guzman said.

In 2013, the proposed redevelopment project was awarded $840,972 in federal low-income housing tax credits from the Illinois Housing Development Authority. The credits are expected to generate $7 million to $8 million in capital for the rehab of the 40 homes, according to Gregory.

In 2012, the Mayor’s Affordable Housing Task Force recommended the city move forward with a plan to repurpose foreclosed and vacant homes in the city. The task force opted to push a scattered-site housing approach over rebuilding of a more concentrated low-income public housing complex on the now-vacant Jericho Circle site on the city’s West Side.

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