Only VACANT units will be considered for this program.

Austin Ascending is a project to promote Austin as a desirable community where people of all races can live together and value each other. One of the ways we do that is by helping property owners make improvements to their apartment units. Eligible property owners may apply for up to $4,000 of assistance in the form of a grant. The Housing Center is currently accepting applications for building owners and contractors to participate in the program. 

Download an Application: Austin Ascending Owner Application (fillable .docx) / Austin Ascending Owner Application (.pdf)
Download a Work Plan Template: Austin Ascending WorkPlan Template (fillable .docx) / Austin Ascending WorkPlan Template (.pdf)

Drop off applications or mail applications to our office at 1041 South Boulevard, Oak Park, IL 60302. If notified that you qualify, additional information will be requested including proof of identity, proof of ownership, and financial information. For more information please e-mail Jessica Hartshorn at jhartshorn [at] oprhc [dot] org.

Eligible property owners must meet the following criteria:

    • Building must be 2-4 units, in the Austin Community Area.
    • Units must be vacant.
    • Units must be habitable: They must have working mechanicals.
    • Owner must have the ability to match the grant with an additional investment of at least one-quarter of the grant amount requested.
    • Owner must agree to a pre-inspection by OPRHC staff to assess and approve the proposed scope of work as required.
    • Owner must agree to a post-inspection by OPRHC to assess and approve the completed work as required.
    • Owner must list all improved units for the 24 months from the date of unit completion with the Housing Center.
    • Owner must attend a management seminar with OPRHC.
    • Owner must hire approved contractors in this program.

Austin Ascending Contractor Application (fillable .docx) / Austin Ascending Contractor Application (.pdf)

Eligible contractors must meet one of the following criteria:

    • The business is located in the Austin Community Area, OR
    • The owner has resided in the Austin Community Area for at least 12 months, OR
    • The business has demonstrated a long-term commitment to the Austin Community Area.

The overall goal is to promote a community that can expand housing options and improve integration while uplifting the traditional residents that have long been excluded from opportunity. In addition, OPRHC is currently working to encourage other partners to provide incentives and low-interest loans to supplement this program.


    • Owners of 2-4 unit buildings apply for the program using the forms linked to above. Fill out an Application and a Work Plan Template.
    • Housing Center staff will visit your unit(s) and meet with you to discuss the program and learn about the unit(s).
    • If accepted, additional paperwork will be requested from you to validate ownership and accountability (see application for details).
    • You must submit a work plan, with specific projects (for example, refinishing floors) and reasoning for your choices (for example, current refrigerator is worn out and not energy efficient). Housing Center staff can assist you with this plan.
    • Once that paperwork is received, you will be provided a contract and forgivable mortgage for signing.
    • The Housing Center will share your work plan with our approved contractors for bids on the work.
    • Contractors will turn in bids and the most competitive bid will be selected by you and Housing Center staff.
    • Once a bid is selected we will provide you with a contract for the grant.
    • Once work is completed, Housing Center staff will review and approve the work plan.
    • Payment will be made for costs incurred. If upfront payment is required, Housing Center staff must approve any amount greater than the 1/5 share of costs for which you are responsible.
    • Once work and payment is approved fro costs incurred, a check should arrive within 48 hours.


    • Contractors apply for approval using the form linked to above, including the required paperwork.
    • Housing Center staff will process the application and inform you of approval.
    • If approved, you will be included on the list provided to owners.
    • Payment from the Housing Center will be provided upon completion of a project.If upfront costs are necessary, approval will be required from the Housing Center.

If you have additional questions, please call the Housing Center at 708-848-7150.