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Historic Chicago Bungalow Association

Chicago, Cook County

Housing Program

An MPC Housing Program case study

Program background

The Historic Chicago Bungalow Association was created in 2000 by Mayor Richard M. Daley, and serves to foster an appreciation of the Chicago Bungalow as a distinctive housing type, encourage rehabilitation of Chicago bungalows and assist bungalow owners with making their homes more energy efficient and adapting their homes to current needs. With over 16,000 members, the Association’s programs help to strengthen bungalow neighborhoods throughout Chicago.

Chicago has approximately 80,000 bungalows, many of which fall in the C-shaped “bungalow belt” that makes up the area of greatest bungalow concentration in the northwest and south sides of the city. Today, bungalows constitute nearly one-third of the city’s single-family housing stock. These one and a half story homes were built between 1910 and 1940 and have some of the following unique characteristics: brick construction, limestone accents and detailing, generous windows, low-pitched roof with overhang, a long and rectangular layout and a full attic and basement.

How it works

The Historic Chicago Bungalow Association offers a variety of grant programs that provide cost savings and significant quality of life benefits for homeowners. Though many programs are available to all Chicago households, in order for bungalow owners to receive the full benefits of the Association’s grant programs, they must sign up to become a member of the Bungalow Association by certifying their bungalow with the Association. Membership is completely free and signing up is a quick and simple process.

Current HCBA programs

  • A grant valued at $4,000 is available to homeowners of certified bungalows for attic insulation and air sealing services through the EnergySavers Program. The grant is free for households making at or below 80 percent of the area median income ($57,900 for a family of four in 2014).
  • Association members may be eligible for replacement ENERGY STAR rated kitchen refrigerators and window air conditioner units through the Appliance Replacement Program. Households must be at or below 80 percent of the area median income ($57,900 for a family of four in 2014).
  • Through a grant from the Illinois Science and Energy Innovation Foundation, Historic Chicago Bungalow Association educates all Chicago homeowners about smart meters and dynamic pricing programs, giving households more control over their monthly electric bills. So far, 20 events have educated over 600 people throughout the city.
  • In partnership with Retrofit Chicago, the Association connects homeowners to the Home Energy Jumpstart Program, which offers free installation of energy saving products such as programmable thermostats, showerheads, faucet aerators and pipe insulation. Homeowners can also receive rebates on qualifying boilers, furnaces and water heaters.
  • The Association is a one-stop center for bungalow owners to find technical resources and design guidelines to help them improve and maintain their homes without compromising stylistic integrity. Homeowners can access an online database of vendors that have familiarity and experience with Chicago bungalows so that they can connect with the right contractor or home improvement professional. Additionally, the Bungalow Association offers a wide range of free events and workshops pertaining to home maintenance and repair, sustainability and green living through a monthly seminar series that is open to the public.


Historic Chicago Bungalow Association

  • Goal

    To preserve Chicago’s historic bungalows through the implementation of energy efficiency, sustainability and housing preservation initiatives.

  • Target

    Historic Chicago bungalow owners, buyers and developers

  • Financing

    The Historic Chicago Bungalow Association is a Delegate Agency of the City of Chicago’s Department of Planning and Development. A portion of the Bungalow Association’s operating budget is funded by the City. The remaining operating budget is supported by local foundations and through contributions from our Annual Angel Guild Award Celebration Fundraiser. The Association’s current grant programs are funded by the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s Low-Income Energy Efficiency funding.

  • Success

    Since its founding, the Historic Chicago Bungalow Association has distributed over 7,100 grants to bungalow owners for energy efficiency improvements, home maintenance and preservation, totaling over $11.6 million in grant funding. The Association has conducted hundreds of free educational seminars throughout the city, assisting thousands of vintage homeowners with common home improvement projects.

  • Lessons learned

    One of our greatest challenges was to reach broad segments of the community, specifically hard-to-reach homeowners who lack internet access in the home, and therefore cannot regularly access our website and email announcements; of our 16,000 members, only 7,000 are reachable via internet. To combat this problem, the Bungalow Association has created targeted marketing strategies. These include direct post card mailers to inform homeowners of new grants, educational seminars and other neighborhood events and programs, and extensive community outreach. We partner with neighborhood organizations, aldermanic offices and community groups to effectively reach seniors and low-income households.