It's time to make affordable housing the city's top priority
City elections are over and the mayor and city council
will be preparing for new terms of office and
considering government priorities for Chicago. The
Chicago Rehab Network believes that the problem of
housing affordability should be at the top of the list.
The ability of residents to afford to live in the city
without sacrificing a tremendous amount of incomes
on housing costs is the most important issue we
could deal with. A recent CRN analysis revealed 41
percent of city home owners and 46 percent of renters
are spending more than one-third of their income just
Our 2007 Housing Platform, which includes
recommendations for preserving affordable housing
in the city outlines areas where city leadership -
including increased 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 trouble
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 there has been a decrease of 71,000 renter
In addition, the Chicago Rehab Network calls for
greater coordination and transparency between the
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 policies and their impact
Unlike the federal and state government, city
government has no information system in place to
track legislative activities and initiatives and there is
no coherent system to inform the public about what is
happening. If our leaders and residents don't know
what is happening it is difficult to get them involved to
make sure that the right things are done.
We congratulate all who participated in the recent
elections. Many more people need to be involved, but
this presents a new beginning and we must take
advantage of this moment. The competition for what
issues should top the city's agenda is going to
continue. We hope to keep our members aware and
engaged to take advantage of this new opportunity.
Kevin Jackson, executive director,
Chicago Rehab Network
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: City Hall Committees to Discuss Affordable Requirements, Tuesday, May 1, 2007
A Joint Meeting of the Committee on Housing and
Real Estate and Committee on Zoning will be held
tomorrow, TUESDAY, MAY 1,2007 at 10:OO a.m. in
Council Chambers, City Hall. The purpose of the
meeting is to discuss the amendment to the
Affordable Requirements Ordinance (ARO). A copy of
the ordinance will be made available in the ofice of the
Chairman, Room 203, City Hall. For more information
contact the offices of aldermen Ray Suarez, chairman
of the Committee on Housing and Real Estate, or
William J.P. Banks, chairman of the Committee on
||"Affordable housing bill is fair to builders," Sun-Times letter to the editor by CRN's Kevin Jackson, published in April
|Cost Burdens in Chicago Neighborhoods
The Chicago Rehab Network recently compiled and
distributed a fact sheet that shows increasing
numbers of cost-burdened renters and owners
brokendown by community areas most affected by the
problem. It is another reminder that all city leaders --
elected officials, advocates, developers, community
organizations and neighborhood activists -- need to
In the neighborhood area that includes Humboldt
Park, Garfield Park, and North Lawndale 62 percent of
owners and 63 percent of renters are cost burdened --
meaning they spend more than one-third of their
income on housing.
This analysis supports previous Chicago
Rehab Network calls for efforts to preserve
neighborhoods, expand leadership and commit
resources to combat the housing affordability crunch.
||Click here for the Housing Cost Burden fact sheet
|CRN Empowerment Series Well Underway
The Chicago Rehab Network recently concluded the
third of eight intensive housing development training
workshops on April 4-5. In the most recent workshop
on Proforma Development & Analysis, instructor
Andrew Geer, executive director of Heartland Housing,
guided 30-plus students through basic financial and
real estate concepts in application to affordable
housing development, including the phases of
development, creating a development team, and
devising development and operating budgets.
Utilizing the ample experience of the Heartland
organization, Geer modeled how nonprofit developers
can best combine mission-driven goals with sound
financial and real estate judgment.
On the second day of the workshop, Mark McCann
from JP Morgan Chase led an energetic presentation
and thoughtful discussion on the Low Income
Housing Tax Credit program, answering the
questions and concerns of all participants about one
of the most complex yet successful programs for
The next workshop in the Empowerment Series will
be on Sources of Development Financing, April 26-27.
For more information on the Empowerment Series,
please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
||Read more about Heartland Housing, Inc.
|New CRN staffers
The Chicago Rehab Network has added two
AmeriCorps volunteers to the team. David
Ellenwood grew up in West
Hartford, Conn. He graduated from Lewis and Clark
College in Portland, in May '06 with a degree in
Religious Studies and a focus in Gender Studies.
The other staffer Babak Khoshnood was born
in Iran, and moved to the U.S. when he was five-years-
old. He grew up in the Chicagoland area, and went to
college at University of Wisconsin-Madison. He
studied Sociology and Economics as an undergrad.
Babak also studied Economic Sociology in graduate
school. Later, he joined the Peace Corps and went to
Romania for two years. Babak returned to Chicago
and joined AmeriCorps. Welcome aboard!
|Don't miss CNT Tools For Sustainable Communities Sessions, CRN is a Co-sponsor of the Events
Come to Center for Neighborhood Technology's
House TOOLS FOR SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES
May 10, 2007, 3:00 - 7:00 p.m. CNT is located at 2125
W. North Avenue, Chicago , IL 60647.
Stormwater: From Trouble to Treasure, at 4:00 and
5:30; Mini-Workshop H + T Affordability Index at 4:30
and 6:00; Green Building Tours at 3:30, 5:00, and 6:30
||Click here for more details ...