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Public Allies at the ICA
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Public Allies at ICA GreenRise


As part of our programmatic relationship with Public Allies Chicago, a member of the AmeriCorps national service network, Allies are invited to become a part of our Intentional Community.

Our Intentional Community is made up of individuals who want to live simply and are committed to a green and sustainable lifestyle. In addition to your room there are common areas throughout the eight floor where residents often gather to watch TV, relax, or chat with others and enjoy the company of living in an intentional community. Read more about the Intentional Community here. 

Proud to be Partner of the Year 2015

Frequently Asked Questions 

What does it mean to live at ICA?

As an Ally at the ICA, you will be more than a guest at our building - you will be a member of our community! Being a member of a community means that more than paying your rent on time (although that's important too), you are excited to engage and participate in community activities and responsibilities. You will be joining others in creating a home in this building and a sustainable culture in the world. To affect this, Allies at the ICA agree to:

  1. Attend at least one community dinner or community meeting a month
  2. Work with the programming staff on a volunteer project
  3. Agree to the terms of the Customary and sign the signature page


When are Community Dinners?

Community dinners are held once a month, usually on the 28th of the month. They are a chance for the community to get to know each other in an informal setting, and to celebrate and honor community members’ significant life events.  Community dinners are hosted by a set of three community members and this duty rotates on an annual basis.


Is the volunteer project a Service Day or TSP?

Not exactly, volunteering with the ICA is a term of your stay with us at the GreenRise and not your term as a Public Ally. In order to best suit your interests, Allies at the ICA will coordinate with ICA programming staff to decide the details of your volunteering. The ICA GreenRise is a demonstration site for both cultural and environmental sustainability. We engage our residents and tenants in various programs which forward our mission and participant's perspectives. As an Ally at the ICA, volunteering is another layer of our intra-building community and the work being done here. As a nonprofit service center, there are also numerous nonprofits in the building who an Ally could volunteer with as part of our tenant cohort engagement. 

What is the Customary and where can I find it?

The Customary acts as an orientation packet which outlines the resources of the community and the expectations of using them. Click here to read the table of contents for the Customary. Contact Caitlin at for a copy of the full Customary.

 Sounds great, but how much does it cost?

A benefit to community life is that it lends to a more affordable lifestyle than having to furnish and rent an entire apartment space. Rooms available to Public Allies are generally suited for 1-2 people but the building offers a wide range of room sizes, and can accommodate more roommates at request.

There is a base fee of $220 (single) or $350 (roommates) per month in addition to a charge of $1.10 per square foot of a room. Rent also covers use of all the communal spaces (kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, lounge areas, meeting rooms, and all utilities-heat, electricity, etc.) For example our smallest apartment (150 sq. ft.) for a single bed will cost $220 + (150 sq. ft. * $1.10) = $385 per month.

Additional costs:

Cable and Wi-Fi
Currently, some rooms are cable ready, but residents have to pay for access on their own. RCN is the building provider for wireless internet and cable connections. There are also areas on the 6th floor and other common spaces that Wi-Fi is currently available.

Depending on availability, parking is available on a daily, monthly, and yearly basis. The costs are:
Daily - $7.50, Monthly - $90, Yearly - $890. 

Laundry: washer and dryer
There are two washers and dryers on the 8th floor. The washer is coin operated at $1.00 a load and it's free to dry. 

What types of payments are accepted?
Check, credit card and cash are all acceptable forms of payment. Rent is due on the 1st of every month, and late after the 5th, with a 3% of the total rent as a late fee charge.



General Living at ICA FAQ's

What does "intentional community” mean?
Intentional Community is an inclusive term for ecovillages, cohousing communities, residential land trusts, communes, student co-ops, urban housing cooperatives, intentional living, alternative communities, cooperative living, and other projects where people strive together with a common vision.

Is there an age requirement for living within the building?
The Institute encourages individuals 20 years of age and older to live within the building. Accommodations may be made for special requests.

How long is a lease for?
Leases are typically the length of your service - 10 months. Accommodations are made for shorter and longer requests, and the lease can be broken with a 30 day written notice.

Is there a way to see more pictures of the building?
There is a flickr page with photos of the building, including views of the different sizes of rooms available. Please visit:

Is the ICA accessible by public transportation?
YES! ICA is located just two blocks from the CTA Red Line, and the 151 Sheridan and 81 Lawrence buses run right outside the front doors of the building. In addition to excellent access to public transport, Lake Shore Drive is just two blocks away, as is a lake front bike and running path that spans more than 20 miles across the city.

What is the Uptown neighborhood like?
Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood is known for its rich and vibrant diversity, as well as formally being Chicago’s entertainment district. Uptown is currently home to numerous music venues, nightclubs, restaurants and shops. Uptown Square, at the center of the Uptown Entertainment District, was designated as a National Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places in 2000. The ICA is located just two blocks from both the lake and Uptown Square. For more information on Uptown, you can visit:,_Chicago.

How is the kitchen set up?
Currently residents share a kitchen on the 6th floor of the building. Residents have refrigerator space, and are welcome to use all the equipment in the kitchen to prepare their meals.

How are the bathrooms set up?
One of the items shared with others within this community will be bathroom space. There are separate men’s and women’s facilities and there are 5 stalls, sinks, and showers in each bathroom.

What is security like in the building?
The ICA GreenRise building values a secure space for both its tenants and residents. There is someone at the front desk 24 hours a day. The front doors of the building are locked at 8:00pm, and residents and tenants must be buzzed in through the front door. There are special elevator codes for the residential floors.

What are the rules for guests of residents?
Residents are permitted to have guests on a temporary basis (less than 1 week/per month). No unaccompanied guests are allowed. Guest’s rooms are available for use through ICA, for a fee and must be pre-booked.  If the guest is staying in your room, there is no charge. One of the key foundations of making an intentional community work is respect for others you share the space with; it is of utmost importance that this respect be reflected in those who are invited into the community living space.

Have more questions or want to request a room? Fill in the form below!