March 2007

In this issue

Department of Housing Performance Reflects CRN Recommendations

HOT STUFF: Cook County Rental Alliance Meets

Renew Your Membership Today!

Housing Platform Calls for More Dollars, Leadership on Affordable Housing

Community Development & Empowerment Series 2007 kicks off

Second Training for Local Government Agencies Concludes

Takin' Note


Department of Housing Performance Reflects CRN Recommendations

An active Fourth Quarter in the Department of Housing capped another year into the city of Chicago’s third Five-Year Affordable Housing Plan. The Chicago Rehab Network presented its analysis of the Department of Housing Quarterly Progress Report before the Committee on Housing and Real Estate on March 6. Commitments of more that $186 million in the fourth quarter alone and the diversity of projects assisted by DOH—including rental housing preservation and conveyance of city parcels for affordable housing—reflect several of the recommendations outlined in CRN’s 2007 Policy Platform and clearly demonstrates the rationale for increasing the city’s investment in affordable housing.

Preserving Neighborhoods Among our policy recommendations were calls for the city to take action to acquire and transfer expiring and troubled properties, especially in rapidly changing neighborhoods, to qualified purchasers for recapitalization as affordable rental housing. We are encouraged by three distinct preservation projects assisted by DOH in the last quarter: 420 units of low- income senior housing in the Grand Boulevard community; 77 multi-family units in Uptown; and a 61-unit single- room occupancy building in a historic district in Wicker Park. As rental housing options continue to decline, increasing and strengthening the Department of Housing’s capacity to be proactive in the preservation of existing rental stock is a worthy investment for the city.

City Land for Affordable Housing In our platform, we recommended an inventory of publicly- owned land and banking of appropriate parcels for affordable rental housing, especially for housing created under the Chicago Community Land Trust. Furthermore, the conveyance of city parcels at minimal cost for creation of affordable rental housing will help offset increasing development costs and allow for deeper subsidies to serve the housing needs of lower income populations. For instance, in the fourth quarter, DOH conveyed 27 parcels of city land for $1 each to the non- profit Interfaith Housing Development Corporation for a unique, scattered-site development encompassing three wards in three neighborhoods. The development consists of three projects, the Sankofa House, the Coppin House, and Clara’s Village, and will provide housing for young adults transitioning out of the state’s foster care system and serve the special needs of grand-families (grandparent-led households).

$186 Million in Fourth Quarter Commitments Since the undertaking of a massive redevelopment of public housing into mixed-income developments, nearly half of the city’s commitments for housing have gone towards the CHA Plan for Transformation. Therefore, our Platform’s primary recommendation is for an increased city investment of $40 million a year to affordable rental housing— representing the amount of resources that have been diverted from rental housing programs into the public housing redevelopment.

With a surge of activity at the end of the year, aggressive use of TIF funding, Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, and Donations Tax Credits, DOH surpassed its stated multi-family commitment goals at 130 percent, committing $186 million in the last quarter for multi-family units—a significant increase given that for the first three quarters of 2006, DOH committed an average of about $50 million per quarter to multi-family housing.

The 2006 level of activity in the Department of Housing offers an insight to the capacity and leadership within the City to fill this much-needed resource gap to support affordable rental housing development.

Visit the Chicago Rehab Network for the full report


For 25 years, the Chicago Rehab Network (CRN) has worked to further the development and preservation of safe affordable housing in Chicago, and throughout the state of Illinois.

  • HOT STUFF: Cook County Rental Alliance Meets
  • House For Rent

    The Cook County Rental Alliance held its first meeting March 8 at First Baptist Congregation Church, on the west side. The alliance, co-convened by the Chicago Rehab Network and the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, serves as a forum where affordable housing advocates can share knowledge and enhance their capacity to preserve federally-subsidized rental units.

    The group also convenes forums and workshops to assemble stakeholders, assess strategies to save priority properties; share lessons on best practices; coordinate with public agencies, officials, and preservation-friendly owners and developers; collect, analyze and distribute data and information; and develop and advocate for preservation-friendly policies and regulations at all levels of government. For more information, contact Gene Moreno at 312-663-3936, or e-mail gene@chicagorehab.org. Updates on the alliance will also be available at www.chicagorehab.org soon.

  • Renew Your Membership Today!
  • Please renew your organization's membership today Invoices have been mailed to groups. Please check with your organization's financial manager to make sure that your group's dues are up to date. If you have other questions, contact Hervenia Mitchell, at the Chicago Rehab Network, 312-663- 3936, or email hervenia@chicagorehab.org.

  • Housing Platform Calls for More Dollars, Leadership on Affordable Housing
  • Just before before important municipal elections, the Chicago Rehab Network Feb. 20 released its 2007 Housing Platform, which includes recommendations for preserving affordable housing in the city. The plan outlines areas where city leadership through funding, policy changes and public commitments can keep Chicago a place where everyone can find a home.

    The Housing Platform also calls for a moratorium on condo conversion, $40 million a year dedicated to affordable rental development, elimination of regulatory barriers on government-assisted housing development, and action to preserve troubled properties or properties with expiring federal Section 8 contracts. More than 8,000 units of federally-assisted housing are at risk of expiring by the end of 2009. The loss of these units would be a devastating blow in a city where 71,000 units of rental-occupied housing has already been lost in recent years. In addition, the Chicago Rehab Network calls for greater coordination and transparency between city departments responsible for housing – including the departments of planning, zoning, building and construction permits. An updated information system is also needed to track city housing policies and their impact on residents.

    Click Here to See the Housing Platform Online
  • Community Development & Empowerment Series 2007 kicks off
  • LCDC sign

    The Chicago Rehab Network’s annual Community Development and Empowerment Series, a four-month certificate program, is off to an exciting start. The program has experienced community development practitioners take participants through the nuts and bolts of affordable housing development and management. With demand for the training series greater than ever this year, participants gathered with enthusiasm March 8-9 for the first workshop on Community Building, led by veteran instructor Richard Townsell. Townsell, now with Fannie Mae, talked with participants about the community assets planning model, and led a guided tour of the impressive work of Lawndale Christian Development Corporation. The tour included affordable single family homes and multifamily rental developments, a community technology center, a medical facility with pharmacy and fitness center, and a fully-equipped educational center/daycare. Townsell is also the former executive director of LCDC.

    This year’s trainees represented a wide range of experience with community development – with participants coming from an array of areas, including the Chicago Housing Authority, the Village of Maywood, experienced non-profit housing developers, and new housing organizations. While the Chicago Rehab Network celebrated the 10th anniversary of community development trainings last year, increasing demand for the well-established Empowerment Series reflects a renewed upsurge of organizational and individual interest in the field of affordable housing.

    Our thanks to Bickerdike Redevelopment Agency for hosting this training. Click here to learn more about the good work done by Bickerdike!

    For more information on the Empowerment Series, please contact Lindsay@Chicagorehab.org. Learn more about the Lawndale Christian Development Corp.

  • Second Training for Local Government Agencies Concludes
  • CRN recently wrapped up the second of two training workshops for "Participating Jurisdictions," local government agencies that administer federal Community Development Block Grants and HOME grants. Trainees from across Illinois convened in Chicago May 12-13 for a training on Lead Safe Housing Regulations, co-taught by ICF International consultants Kevin Roddy and Eugene Goldfarb. The workshop, a sequel to the January training on Construction Management, allowed participants to learn the ins and outs of administering lead safety regulations and bring local problems to trained experts.

    The 25 training participants hailed from the Chicago metro area, including the Villages of Oak Park and Schaumburg, and further with trainees from East St. Louis, Rockford, Decatur and Pekin, Ill. The Chicago Rehab Network is an official HUD-certified technical assistance provider for PJs and community housing development organizations (CHDOs) in the state.

  • Takin' Note
  • Small Version notepad

    The 13th Annual Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards honors architects and developers playing innovative and leading roles in Chicago, and is hosted by LISC/Chicago. We congratulate Angela Hurlock and Claretian Associates on winning the CNDA Chicago Community Trust Outstanding Community Initiative of the Year award.

    Claretian Associates was chosen for developing the 53-unit Villa Guadalupe Senior Apartments in the early 1990s, to answer to the need for affordable housing and a make strong statement of faith in the future of Southeast Chicago, which had suffered great disinvestment in the wake of the departure of "big steel." The housing development activities in a targeted 12-block area created a total of 126 affordable homes and apartments, Claretian Associates has simultaneously worked with other community partners to undertake housing development projects and services that have enriched lives in the entire Southeast Chicago area. In the process, they transformed a geographic area into a community, said CNDA organizers.

    Congratulations also to Andy Geer and Heartland Housing, which was presented with a CNDA for its role in the "Outstanding For-Profit Neighborhood Real Estate Project" award. The award recognized the Roosevelt Square Phase I project as a new mixed- income housing development, of 415 homes, that has sparked rebirth of the area around Racine Road and Taylor St., in the "footprint of the former ABLA public housing complex." When completed, Roosevelt Square will consist of 2,441 new homes, with one- third going to Chicago Housing Authority household, one-third affordable and one-third market rate for sale homes. The different housing types will also be distributed throughout the for-sale buildings.

    The CNDAs are the "the only awards program focused on neighborhood-based development," organizers said. The awards ceremony was held Feb. 20 at the Hyatt Regency, where more than 1,300 people, including the leaders of Chicago's non-profit, corporate and philanthropic sectors, joined Mayor Richard M. Daley and event Chair Perry Pero, retired CFO of Northern Trust, in honoring this year's winners "whose work has helped to infuse new investment and life into Chicago's neighborhoods," event organizers added.

    Housing Action Illinois conference Housing Action Illinois will host its 20th anniversary convention and gala April 17-18, at the Abraham Lincoln Hotel and Conference Center in Springfield, IL. For more information click here.

    CRN leads south side training session Gene Moreno, policy director for the Chicago Rehab Network, recently conducted a training for the New Communities Program in Washington Park.

    Want to Find Out More? Just Click Here!
    richard@chicagorehab.org richard@chicagorehab.org
    http://www.chicagorehab.org http://www.chicagorehab.org

    Email Marketing by