CHICAGO (CBS) – A collaborative, composed of five near west suburbs, is moving ahead with plans to renovate homes and apartment buildings for low- and moderate-income families.

Since Bellwood, Berwyn, Forest Park, Maywood and Oak Park joined forces in 2009 to form the West Cook County Housing Collaborative, Bellwood has renovated three single-family homes and Berwyn has begun work on 26 homes. Now, said Rick Wallach of project manager IFF Housing, the collaborative is beginning the renovation of the 26-unit, 1920s-vintage Maywood Apartments complex, at 1015-17 S. Fourth Av., in Maywood, using a $3.2 million federal grant.

“We just received permits a few weeks ago and we’re just in the beginning stages of demolition and early stages of construction,” he said.

The collaborative turned to Cook County to help it obtain the federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program grant. County Board President Toni Preckwinkle donned a hard hat and toured the building Thursday, saying it is a good investment.

“We put a lot of energy into affordable housing because we know that’s the foundation of our neighborhoods, that ordinary working families have an opportunity to get a foothold in our communities,” she said. “Multi-family rental housing provides that kind of affordability and stability in our communities.”

Wallach said that half of the units will be rented to households with earnings of less than $37,700 a year for a family of four. The other half will be rented to families of four earning no more than $90,480 a year. The building should be ready for occupancy by October.

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