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Donald W. Kent Residence

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago, Northlake, Cook County

Housing Development

An MPC housing development case study

The development

Northlake officials partnered with Catholic Charities to build the Donald W. Kent Residence to increase affordable senior living options in the community and revitalize the neighborhood along Wolf Road. Named after the former longtime head of Catholic Charities, this affordable senior housing development, at 100 S. Wolf Rd., contains 72 one-bedroom apartments. All of the apartments are designated for low-income seniors age 62 or older who can maintain an independent lifestyle. Apartments range from 525 to 540 square feet and are equipped with a full kitchen and private bath.

In 2001, Northlake Mayor Jeffrey Sherwin approached Catholic Charities to discuss how they might collaborate to provide more affordable housing. The City spent two years acquiring the one acre of land needed for the development. The City used bond proceeds to buy the land, which was in a Tax Increment Financing district. The bonds will be paid off in 2020. Northlake created a Special Residence Zoning Ordinance in 2003, which enabled Catholic Charities to build the senior apartments. Catholic Charities received all the necessary funding by December 2005 and construction began in February 2006. The development was completed in May 2007 and residents began occupying apartments in June 2007.

Creating affordability

The development was made possible through funding from several sources. Catholic Charities received $8.9 million in grants from the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), a $750,000 grant from Federal Home Loan Bank, and a $140,000 grant from the Illinois Dept. of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO). The DCEO grant supported efficiency improvements such as increased insulation, better windows and energy-saving appliances.

The Donald W. Kent Residence is rent-subsidized and will remain so for 40 years. The rent subsidy is provided by HUD and is a Project Rental Assistance Contract tied to the unit itself. Resident income eligibility is 50 percent Area Median Income, which was $25,350 for a one-person household and $29,000 for a two-person household in 2014. Tenants pay 30 percent of their incomes as their portion of the rent, which is $600 per month.

Part of the land lease agreement between Northlake, HUD and Catholic Charities gives Northlake residents preference for this housing. Because the City acquired the land, the construction costs were reduced, increasing overall affordability. The City continues to own the land and Catholic Charities has a 75-year lease on the property.

Public involvement

The Northlake City Council saw a need to revitalize this area of the city, and understood that a new high-quality affordable development such as the Donald W. Kent Residence would positively affect the neighborhood. They acquired the land and voted unanimously to create the Special Residences Zoning Ordinance, which enabled the project to move forward. Members of the community were very supportive of the development.


Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago

  • Target

    Low-income seniors.

  • Development information

    Type: One-bedroom apartments
    Total Units: 72
    Total Affordable Units: 72
    Rents: $600 per month

  • Funding sources

    HUD: $8.9 million
    DCEO: $140,000
    Federal Home Loan Bank: $750,000

  • Success

    The Donald W. Kent Residence is at full occupancy and has helped to rejuvenate the neighborhood.

  • Lessons learned

    Proactive municipal leadership can successfully address a community’s housing and revitalization needs. The City was an essential partner in the development’s success.