Community Partnerships pave the way toward Community-based Housing Creation

Last year, we shared the exciting news that Center for Independent Futures (CIF) had been awarded a planning grant by The Coleman Foundation to establish Community Partnerships in four Chicagoland locations.

Providing housing for individuals with disabilities has historically been a task for state and federal governments, however, CIF has long been committed to bringing this issue into the community domain. In response to the current lack of affordable, sustainable housing options for people with disabilities, the grant set out to create a replicable process to convene and form family-community partnerships as a first step toward creating sustainable community-based alternative housing models for individuals with disabilities.Now, as the grant periods come to a close, we have an exciting update with outcomes from eighteen months of incredible learnings.

Over the past year and a half, CIF has facilitated meetings with family groups in four Chicagoland locations: Northern suburbs, Western suburbs, Southwestern suburbs, and the city’s South Side. While CIF’s involvement has come to an end, families and community partners are now moving forward to establish formal organizations, search for properties, and engage with developers and other housing partners to reach their goal to create alternative housing in their communities.

We are excited to share an outcome of our work –Alternative Housing Options for Individuals with Disabilities: A Guide for Forming and Implementing Community Partnerships. The guide will assist individuals, their families, and social service organizations to convene and form community partnerships for the purpose of creating affordable, sustainable alternative housing options for individuals with disabilities. The guide provides ways to determine individual and organizational readiness, offers alternative thinking and critical questions to be considered in the transition to independent living and serves as a process template.

Download Alternative Housing Options for Individuals with Disabilities

While the guide can serve as a starting point, CIF’s New Futures Initiative offers a comprehensive, facilitated process that incudes community organizing, housing acquisition, support design and implementation, and ongoing operations of community-based housing solutions. If you are interested in creating a community living option in your area, please contact Center for Independent Futures at or 847-328-2044.

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