In December 2020, the Chicago City Council passed an ordinance allowing for the creation of Additional Dwelling Units (ADUs). The ordinance aimed to create not only more affordable housing, but also create more housing types in a variety of neighborhoods for residents of all income levels. ADUs can serve as a source of financial stability or relief, encouraging revenue generation and wealth building for homeowners, especially for those who deal with high housing costs.
The ADU Grant Program pilot provides grants for income eligible residents to work with architects, general contractors and other construction services specialists to EITHER bring existing ADU units up to code OR create new, rentable spaces from their attics, basements, or garages. There are two types of grants available - planning grants and construction grants. Planning grants (maximum $10,000) cover a home consultation, architect fees, and permit fees in order to file your architectural plans with the City of Chicago Department of Buildings. Once you have submitted your plans to the City for a building permit or you are ready – permit in hand -- to build out your space, construction grants (5-year forgivable loans up to $75,000) will help subsidize the construction management and construction costs of your unit.
Please note: You may only apply for EITHER a planning grant OR a construction grant. If you apply for and receive a planning grant, you may then apply for a construction grant, provided there is funding available, ONLY AFTER you have submitted your architectural plans to the City to obtain a building permit. You may not apply for both grants at the same time.
General Eligibility Requirements
- Must be a city of Chicago resident
- The property must be owner-occupied (i.e. be your primary residence)
- Household income must be equal to or less than 140% of the Area Median Income (AMI)
- The property must be a residential building (1 - 4 units)
- The property must be at least 20 years old
- The property owner may add one coach house unit to any property OR one conversion unit (e.g. basement or attic) to property
- Geographic restrictions apply. See Eligible Areas outlined below.
- All conversions must result in a single family dwelling
- Before applying, please review documents required for proof of eligibility
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Homeowners in five ADU pilot areas can apply to create one ADU on their property:
- North Zone, covering portions of the Edgewater, Lake View, Lincoln Square, North Center, Uptown and West Ridge community areas
- Northwest Zone, covering portions of the Albany Park, Avondale, East Garfield Park, Hermosa, Irving Park, Logan Square, Near West Side and West Town community areas
- West Zone, covering portions of the East Garfield Park, North Lawndale, South Lawndale and West Garfield Park community areas
- South Zone, covering portions of the Ashburn, Auburn Gresham, Chatham, Chicago Lawn, Englewood, Greater Grand Crossing, Roseland, Washington Heights, Washington Park, West Englewood, West Lawn, and Woodlawn community areas
- Southeast Zone, covering portions of the East Side, Hegewisch, South Chicago and South Deering community areas
- In addition to the geographic requirement, properties must also:
- Be at least 20 years old if adding a conversion unit in basement or attic space
- Be located in a residential zoning district — either an RM, an RS or an RT — with the exception of RS-1, single family housing (min. 6,250 SF lot area)
(RM - residential multi-unit, RS - residential single, RT - residential two-flat, townhome and low-density multi-unit buildings)
To apply for the ADU Grants Program, you will provide documents to determine program eligibility. Click on Documents Required for a list of the required documents.
You may apply online through our secure on-line platform by clicking on the blue APPLY NOW button and uploading the required documents to our secure client portal.
You may alternatively download and print an application and drop off the completed application and required documents at one of NHS’ three locations across Chicago.
Please thoroughly review GENERAL ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS, INCOME ELIGIBILITY, DOCUMENTS REQUIRED, and APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS before starting your application.
To Apply Online (preferred)
- Step 1: Apply Start the initial online application by clicking on the blue "Apply Now" in the upper right of this page or by clicking HERE.
- If you do not already have an NHS online account, you will receive an email asking you to confirm your online account. This may take up to 72 hours. Once you confirm your secure NHS online account, you will be able to upload and save documents.
- Step 2: Upload the required documentation to your secure online NHS account by clicking HERE or going to the "Client Login" button on the NHS webpage. You may upload and save documents and login again at a later time to upload additional documents. You may also access the "How to upload document to your online NHS account" resource by clicking HERE.
If you are not able to upload electronic versions of your documents, you may drop off paper copies of your documents at NHS offices during normal business hours.
After you complete the online submission form, NHS staff may reach out to you with questions and/or to request additional documentation.
To Apply in Person
Please download, print and complete an APPLICATION, attach all of the required documents as indicated and drop your complete packet at one of NHS’ office locations. Offices are open Monday - Friday from 9am-5pm.
Wicker Park: 1279 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, IL 60622
West Humboldt: 3601 West Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60651
South Side: 639 E. 87th Street, Chicago, IL 60619
If you do not have an email address, please be sure to provide a phone number where you can be reached.
Please email our Construction Services team at ADURepairs@nhschicago.org or call NHS Client Services at 773-329-4111.