What do you do when you acquire a piece a land, secure predevelopment financing, create drawings, hire a general contractor and then the housing bubble collapses across the country and your bank’s letter of commitment expires? Bankruptcy, foreclosure, abandoned property are actions associated with such a scenario, but that was not case for Reverend Michael Eaddy from the Peoples Church of God in Christ. In 1999, Rev. Eaddy founded and became the executive director of the Peoples Community Development Association of Chicago (PCDAC), Inc. Its mission is to provide opportunities for economically disenfranchised residents of the greater West Side community to help them achieve self-sufficiency. PCDAC’s focus is affordable housing, youth development, and employment training and job placement. PCDAC was providing several community programs including before and after-school care, job training and placement, computer literacy and an ex-offender reentry program. Creating housing in the community was a top priority for his organization.
In 2006, Rev. Eaddy secured a $250,000 predevelopment loan for 24 months from CCLF to develop a 12 unit mixed income condominium housing project estimated to cost a total of $2.8 million. The housing crisis of 2007, 2008 and 2009 came crashing down on Rev. Eaddy’s project, just as it did across the nation. CCLF remained a patient lender and worked with Rev. Eaddy to help him salvage the project in 2008. Rev. Eaddy worked with different partners and each attempt turned into longer delays in breaking ground on his vision to provide housing in East Garfield Park. Rev. Eaddy asked CCLF to be patient a little longer while he worked with Congressman Danny Davis to provide a letter of support for the project in the hopes that he could secure needed equity for the project. CCLF understood the road blocks the Reverend was hitting and stepped in with some technical assistance. Modifications to the original loans were made to accommodate for the delays and the Reverend changed his plans to meet the urgent need for affordable rental housing facing his community during the Great Recession.
After nine years of struggle Rev. Eaddy broke ground on Harvest Homes on July 18, 2015. Harvest Homes is located at 3512-3546 W. 5th Avenue in Chicago offering a 36-unit affordable rental housing equipped with 2, 3 and 4 bedroom apartments for residents earning up to 60 percent of area median income. The $14.1 million project was developed by People’s Community Development Association of Chicago Inc. and The NHP Foundation and secured $1 million in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) and approximately $1.4 million in low-income housing and donation tax credits that generated $12.7 million in equity for the project. Other funding sources for the project are as follows: $600,000 permanent loan provided by JPMorgan Chase, $9M construction loan from JPMorgan Chase, $ 184,250 State of Illinois Donation Tax Credit Proceeds, $ 149,400 State of Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Energy Grants and $ 146,000 City of Chicago 28th Ward Infrastructure Grant.
Rev. Eaddy stood proudly at the podium during the ribbon cutting ceremony on July 30,
2017, a full 11 years after he put his vision to paper and started his journey. He was joined
by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Congressman Danny Davis, the NHP Foundation and other
financing and community leaders. Why didn’t Rev. Eaddy move on; why didn’t he give up;
how did he keep everyone interested after all these years? Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Rev.
Eaddy was practically a permanent fixture at City Hall always asking that the Mayor not
forget the West Side. The City made an investment in his project because as the Mayor
believed Rev. Eaddy was creating a real community where residents can access all the
amenities that make a neighborhood great. “He is building a community where people can
worship, go to school, find an affordable home and where kids can look out their windows
and see that the City embraces their future.” He went on to explain that more is coming to
the West Side with a new Police and Fire Training Academy.
Rev. Eaddy was happy to hear about new investment in the West Side by the City and he said he has plans for Harvest Homes II and will be speaking to the Mayor in the near future about that project. He is not done yet. He keeps going, but why? There were many people Rev. Eaddy thanked for staying faithful to his vision to bring housing to a cluster of vacant parcels, but there was one person that kept him going all these years- his wife, First Lady Christine Eaddy. Because of her staunched
support he was able to keep the fight for affordable housing in front of him and secure the right partners to make it happen. To always remind him of that endearing support, the Reverend created a
“Circle of Hope” in the center plaza of Harvest Homes dedicated to his wife.
Congressman Danny Davis eloquently stated the meaning of this project for East Garfield
Park: “The words we say here today will not be remembered, but from now on when you
walk on this spot you will see that Harvest Homes has changed this place forever.”