In 2016, Robert Patton and Erica Johnson founded 548 Capital LLC, a company founded for the sole purpose of providing quality housing to lower-income residents in Chicago. Here’s the twist, they plan to harness solar energy to power the buildings! At the same time, they also plan on providing jobs to low-income and minority residents who are disproportionately left out of the clean energy economy.
They are in the process of buying several residential buildings which will they will own and rent to tenants. They will proactively install energy-efficient utilities, add rooftop solar panels and generally improve the building quality. Besides, in the interest of the current tenants, 548 will keep the rents low and prioritize existing tenants so that they don’t get displaced. The “affordability” part is possible largely thanks to energy efficiency and solar.
548 has secured a multimillion-dollar investment, although the details of the deal have not been declared. They have secured this investment by working with Chicago-based A&O Advisors. Patton said they already have 100 residential units under contract and plan on reaching a total of 2,500 units. To achieve this goal, they need a few more investors from Chicago and New York.
As is evident, Patton and Johnson have proved to the world that low-cost energy-efficient residences for low-income groups are possible and even profit yielding! It just needs the right mindset in helping people and the need for energy conservation and the fruits of nature!