April 2007

In this issue

It's time to make affordable housing the city's top priority

HOT STUFF: City Hall Committees to Discuss Affordable Requirements, Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Cost Burdens in Chicago Neighborhoods

CRN Empowerment Series Well Underway

New CRN staffers

Don't miss CNT Tools For Sustainable Communities Sessions, CRN is a Co-sponsor of the Events


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 on housing.

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 households.

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 on residents.

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
  • Hearings table

    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 Zoning.

    "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
  • Money house

    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 address.

    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 affordable housing.

    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 [email protected].

    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 Open 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.

    EVENTS: Mini-Workshop 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 ...
    http://www.chicagorehab.org http://www.chicagorehab.org

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