Affordable Housing Partnership with South Bend

Author: CCI Staff

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South Bend Pre-Approved Buildings: Conceptual Building Types

This summer, 50 interns from universities, colleges, and K-12 schools across the South Bend-Elkhart region are working on 12 community-focused projects as part of the Center for Civic Innovation’s internship program. The Pre-Approved Building Plans project, which is focused on residential infill development through safe and affordable housing, represents a new partnership with the City of South Bend Department of Community Investment and establishes CCI’s first formal collaboration with the Notre Dame Fitzgerald Institute for Real Estate (FIRE).

The Pre-Approved Building Plans project interns are funded by grants awarded to CCI by the Judd A. Leighton Foundation and enFocus, Inc., along with a new sponsorship from FIRE. “We appreciate continuing financial investment from the Leighton Foundation and enFocus and are excited to embark on what we hope to be the first of many collective efforts with the Fitzgerald Institute for Real Estate,” stated Alisa Zornig Gura, managing director of CCI.

The team will learn about the role that diverse housing options play in creating a high quality of life for urban residents. The interns—who include Notre Dame undergraduate students Isabella Botello (Architecture, ’24) and Angelique Mbabazi (Civil Engineering, ’24), Purdue University Fort Wayne student Ruben Velazquez (’23), and recent Adams High School graduate Zuzanna Kukawska (’21)—are managed by CCI internship program manager Lauren Lounsbury, with technical guidance provided by Jason Arnold, managing director of FIRE, and Jennifer Settle, Jennifer Griffin, and Jim Kumon, professional consultants hired by the City of South Bend.

“The Fitzgerald Institute for Real Estate values this collaboration because it gives our students exposure to issues of housing affordability in existing urban neighborhoods. By working closely with the City of South Bend and leading practitioners in affordable housing, the CCI internship offers students the opportunity to understand the needs of the local community while supporting neighborhood infill and economic opportunity through local, small-scale development,” said Arnold.

CCI internships enable students to apply technical and social skills to real-world civic and industry projects requiring innovative, interdisciplinary solutions. Interns working on the Pre-Approved Building Plans project are engaging with community partners, researching local zoning requirements and the housing market potential, test fitting proposed building plans across sites in three different South Bend neighborhoods, and studying affordability and sustainability in the building designs.

Once approved by the City, the building prototypes—which range from single-family to multi-family units—will become a key resource for economic urban infill development and aid in the cultivation of affordable housing throughout South Bend’s neighborhoods.

Interns will present their project outcomes to community partners via Zoom on Wednesday, August 4, 2021.

For more information about the CCI internship program, visit