National Equity Fund

Cleland Place Is First Affordable Development to Open in Wilmette, IL

August 26, 2021

On August 26th, Housing Opportunity Development Corporation (HODC) held a ribbon cutting event to celebrate the opening of Cleland Place in Wilmette, Illinois. The development is named after Jean Cleland (1923-2013), a HODC founding board member, Wilmette resident and advocate for civil rights and affordable housing. Located in a historically affluent neighborhood with a high-barrier to entry, Cleland Place is the first affordable housing for families ever built in Wilmette. Cleland’s grandchildren attended the opening, and provided a quote from her, “When I first moved to Wilmette it was too expensive for the average grocery clerk or postal worker to live here. I like to think my hometown should be accessible to all people.”

The 16-unit development, which was approved by a unanimous City Council vote, consists of a mix of one- and two-bedroom apartments for residents who live and work in Wilmette and earn less than 60 percent of area median income. The average monthly rent in Wilmette for a one- or two-bedroom apartment is $1900, and Cleland Place provides units for $600 for a one-bedroom and $800 for a two-bedroom. HODC has received 117 applications for these apartments, demonstrating the need for affordable housing in communities like Wilmette. Cleland marks NEF’s third deal with HODC, who continues to develop excellent housing communities across Illinois. With Cleland Place, HODC meets one of the key components of our mission, to expand affordable housing to where it would otherwise not be available. This critical work must continue, and we are committed to helping our partners like HODC spread quality affordable housing to those in need across the country.

NEF’s SVP of originations Mike Jacobs spoke at the ribbon cutting. He congratulated originations VP, Rachel Rhodes, who managed the development for NEF, and the construction team for safely completing the building during a global pandemic. He also said of our partners at HODC, “It takes passion, the entire time you’re trying to put it together…we know what our developers do, we know how much passion they put into this to make sure that these things [Cleland Place] get done and they get done very well.”

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