Our Project:

Our current plan is to utilize an existing 9 unit build consisting of five 1 bedroom 1 bath apartments and four studio apartments and change the mix of the units creating a more family friendly mix of three 2 bedroom 2 bath apartments and two 2 bedroom 2 bath apartments.

These units will then be used to provide housing for working poor families who would otherwise pay rent too high for their income and live in an  apartment too small for their needs.

We will reduce rent by saving on property taxes and by supplementing building revenue with the amount of money we are able to raise on an annual basis for the purpose of cutting.  No tenant will pay rent in excess of 1/3 the family’s take home income. We will also raise money to put a solar array on the roof sufficient to offset 100% of the energy needs of the building. This will further cut the expenditure of the target families.

Current Situation and Needs:

The building we are targeting for our first project is a vacant 9 unit building located at 920 North Church Street in Rockford Illinois. It is need of extensive remodelling to accommodate our goals. The acquisition price of the building is $275,000 all of which can be financed non-recourse at 5%.

The costs of rehab are anticipated to be $125,000 without the solar array and the completed value (based upon the new configuration) should be approximately $605,000 or $756,205 with the solar array. The difference is that at market rate, 25% additional rent may be charged for provision of utilities.


Unfortunately, the building has currently many code violations and is not ready for habitability, however; all we need do is correct these and we may start to occupy the building.

We have already spent approximately $3,500 and can eliminate the immediate problems by September 1, 2017, for an additional $7,200. That money will fix all of the most urgent code violations and provide that 1 or 2 units in their current configuration can be occupied. This is very important because once somebody is taking care of the building on a daily basis the remaining problems will be easier to correct. We would rent one apartment out, temporarily, to a building supervisor who will keep the building clean and keep the materials in the building secure.

Once we have raised $14,400, we should be able to eliminate all of the code violations. This number is largely for the purchase and installation of missing and broken windows and the removal of boards on the entire building. Already, $2600 has been spent to order enough windows to replace 13 windows on the east side of the building. I believe this to be the single largest concern for the City of Rockford who is watching us closely and hopes for our completion. The building is ugly and has been boarded up for a long time.

The next challenge we have is paying the taxes. Since the property has been owned as a for profit venture we have outstanding liability for taxes totally almost $14,000. We do not believe that after 2017, we will incur any tax burden.

Next steps:

Once the urgencies are resolved we can concentrate on the building. Based upon an analysis of the costs of labor and materials in this market, we believe that construction can be completed for approximately $25,000 per unit. Taking a 15% contingency that is a total of $143,750.

Construction can be completed in 60-90 days with occupancy in 90-120 days. The solar array is an additional $125,000.

Solar Array:

Based upon the currently available information a solar array will not only offset the electricity 100% It will also produce about $3,000 in electric income and $6,000 in income from the sale of clean energy credits every year. The building has been evaluated by an installation company and is said to be in a perfect spot for the array.


$7,200 is needed immediately.  Please contribute all or as much as you can towards this goal.

$14,400 will resolve all the code issues and replace all the windows.

$14,000 will retire the taxes. 

$268,750 for the complete build out including the solar array.

$5,000 toward a marketing and fundraising plan so we may more easily accomplish the above goals.

Construction happens in phases.  We will begin working the moment we have enough to get started.  If we feel we can complete the next step with the money in hand, we will be working on it.

We will also be working with other agencies to try and cut our costs as time goes forward, in particular, the Charity Youth Build, may be able to help on much of the construction at a greatly reduced cost, particularly on the solar array.

Other considerations:

We need volunteers to help in every way. We welcome any kind of participation. Labor is a contribution at the 8th degree.

People of all skills are welcome to participate in the project. In particular, we also need the following special experience:

  • Accountant

  • Architect

  • Attorney

  • Bookkeeper

  • Business Planner

  • Construction Buyer

  • Construction Manager

  • Computer Programmer

  • Electrician

  • Fundraiser

  • HVAC Contractor

  • Licensed Tradesmen of all disciplines

  • Marketing Planner

  • Media Planner

  • Press Secretary

  • Plumber

  • Secretary

  • Social Marketer

  • Supply Manager

  • Mason

  • Web Designer

  • Window Installer

We will work with other agencies when we have synergy to meet common goals within this project.

We would like to budget $5,000 toward a marketing and fund raising plan so we can more easily accomplish the above goals.  If we raise enough, at the correct time we will consider this expenditure.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Please contribute now.

Best regards,

Mark Elkins

Executive Director

8th DEGREe

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Please call for information or to contribute – +1.6303728800