September 2007

In this issue

CRN Releases DOH Analysis

HOT STUFF: Home District Visits with Ill. Congressional Delegates

CRN Testifies at City Budget Hearing

Housing Picture for Low-Income Vets Troubling

CRN Comments on IDHA's Qualified Allocation Plan

It's Membership Renewal Time!

Stay Tuned for Upcoming Trainings

Job Opportunities


CRN Releases DOH Analysis

CRN presented an analysis during a Sept. 19 hearing before the city's Committee on Housing and Real Estate. It included a call for an update on the reporting process for the expanded Affordable Requirements Ordinance. Below are excerpts from the analysis:

In the 2nd Quarter, preservation was at the forefront of DOH's activities. In June, the Preservation Compact was launched. It was the beginning a joint endeavor between the city and local organizations to preserve 75,000 affordable rental housing units in Cook County by the year 2020. The road towards this goal will certainly pose challenges and we look forward to the cooperation and commitment of the Department of Housing and Compact members to stem the critical loss of affordable rental housing options.

A recent study conducted by MCIC called Income Diversity and the Context of Community Development was noted. The study logs income trends in all 77 community areas of the city. Of particular note are the baseline definitions of income that MCIC applies to neighborhoods. Housing resources are allocated by the Department of Housing according to the HUD Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA) median incomes-a multi-county regional indicator which defines "low-income" for a family of four at 80% of median, or $59,600. MCIC's baseline definition of low-income is set at $38,622 which is $20,000 lower than that used by the Department of Housing.

This study further establishes what we all know: there is great disparity between targeted income levels used by the city for its housing programs and the "actual" income levels of residents. We reaffirm our call that the city's income targeting threshold be redefined to better align with the citywide median income and better serve low- or fixed-income households.

Highlights from this quarter's analysis include three recently approved preservation projects: Lorington Apartments, Drexel Preservation, and Renaissance Place Apartments.

Click here to read or download the recent DOH 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: Home District Visits with Ill. Congressional Delegates
  • Rep Gutierrez with housing advocates

    Over the past month, the Chicago Rehab Network organized meetings with key congressional lawmakers from Chicago who were home for legislative breaks. The meetings were held to discuss affordable housing legislation recently introduced at the federal level. CRN members and staff met with key legislators, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D), and Annette de Caussen of Democrat Jesse L. Jackson's office. Future meetings will be held with Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D), Rep. Danny Davis and others.

    The meeting with Congressman Gutierrez was hosted by Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation. A large part of the conversation was dedicated to subprime lending and the nationwide mortgage crisis. Ofelia Navarro, executive director of Spanish Coalition for Housing, was the first to express concern. "People are so in debt that they are unable to be helped," she said. Navarro noted that her office used to see one or two of these types of foreclosures at a time. Now the numbers are staggering, she said.

    Angela Hurlock, executive director of Claretian Associates, attended the meeting at Congressman Jackson's Homewood office. She shared concerns about housing preservation, especially for people on fixed incomes, and CSX site development plans.

    Illinois legislators hold several influential positions in the House. For example, Rep. Schakowsky is the chief deputy whip of the House Democratic Leadership. Senator Dick Durbin (D) is assistant majority leader. With so many powerful political leaders in place, it is vital that affordable housing advocates stay in touch with their representatives.

    Join us at 9 a.m. on Oct. 1 for a discussion with Congresswoman Schakowsky. This is an opportunity to share experiences and anecdotes with the congresswoman as well as a chance to demonstrate support for key upcoming legislation (such as GSE, Trust Fund, and other regulatory fixes).

    Photo: Chicago Rehab Network staffers, CRN members and advocates meet with Rep. Gutierrez.

  • CRN Testifies at City Budget Hearing
  • Hearings table

    CRN submitted comments concerning the proposed city of Chicago Budget for 2008 before Mayor Richard M. Daley, Budget Commissioner Bennett Johnson III, and the mayor's cabinet members in a packed meeting room Aug. 30 at the Laughlin Falconer School in the 31st Ward. The primary issue raised by CRN about the budget and affordable housing is the sudden "doubling" of the Corporate Fund allocation to the Department of Housing, reportedly due to accounting that includes Downtown Density Bonus fee collection as part of the city's contribution to housing.

    As previously stated by CRN in numerous conversations with the city, the fees from the Downtown Density Bonus represent projected income and are not collected immediately. Therefore CRN is calling for a thorough accounting of the revenue generated through these new affordable requirements and assurance that it will be utilized appropriately. CRN continues to call for a larger commitment of city resources.

    It is not too late to express your Proposed City Budget concerns. A copy of the 2008 Preliminary Budget, a transcript of CRN's oral testimony, and detailed written testimony are available by clicking the link below.

    Click here for more about our budget testimony
  • Housing Picture for Low-Income Vets Troubling
  • Disproportionately large numbers of military veterans have appeared among the homeless population in recent years, raising concerns about the incomes and housing conditions of veterans who rent, rather than own, their homes, according to a General Accountability Office.

    On any given night at least 194,000 veterans were homeless in fiscal year 2005 - about one-third of the adult homeless population - and many veteran renters could be on the verge of homelessness, if they had low incomes or precarious living conditions in overcrowded or substandard housing, the Department of Veterans Affairs reported.

    The return of more veterans from service in Iraq and Afghanistan -some with significant physical and psychological challenges - could increase demand for affordable housing with supportive services such as mental health and substance abuse treatment. However, neither the VA nor other government agencies report information specifically on the housing conditions or housing costs of veterans who rent, the report noted.

    In 2005, an estimated 2.3 million veteran renter households, or about 53 percent of all veteran renter households nationwide, were low income (their household incomes were 80 percent or less of areas median household incomes), and more than half of these low-income households had problems affording their rent, said the GAO. An estimated 1.3 million, or about 56 percent of low- income veteran renter households, had housing affordability problems - that is, their rental costs exceeded 30 percent of household incomes.

    The majority of the 41 largest Public Housing Authorities contacted had no veterans' preference for admission to public housing or voucher programs, and all of the 13 largest PBCAs contacted said owners of project-based properties they oversee generally do not have a veterans' preference, said the GAO report. Specifically, according to GAO interviews with 34 of the largest PHAs that administer public housing programs, 14 (about 41 percent) offered a veterans' preference in fiscal year 2006. Similarly, 13 of the 40 largest PHAs (about 33 percent) that administer the housing choice voucher program offered a veterans' preference.

    Low-income veteran households were less likely to receive HUD rental assistance than other low-income households (that is, nonveteran households). Specifically, of all low-income veteran households, an estimated 11 percent received HUD rental assistance in fiscal year 2005, whereas an estimated 19 percent of other low-income households received assistance, the GAO reported.

  • CRN Comments on IDHA's Qualified Allocation Plan
  • Typist

    The Chicago Rehab Network recently commented on the funding priorities to be implemented in IHDA's next Qualified Allocation Plan. Among CRN's concerns were several categories of requirements that taken together make things more difficult for developers seeking to create affordable housing for families and the Low Income Housing Tax Credit policies that disadvantage 100 percent affordable projects and run counter to the Governor's Housing Plan and the housing needs of Illinois residents.

    Click here to see the full comments
  • It's Membership Renewal Time!
  • Please renew your organization's membership now. 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.

  • Stay Tuned for Upcoming Trainings
  • Registration is open for housing counseling professionals to participate in the "NeighborWorks Course HO109: Beginning to Intermediate Foreclosure" training session. Class will begin promptly at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, October 11th and end at 5:00 p.m. Class on Friday, October 12th will begin at 8:30 a.m., and end at 4:00 p.m.

    HO109 covers each aspect of default and delinquency including reasons for default; ways to maximize income and reduce expenses; calculations; understanding the players in the mortgage marketplace; loss-mitigation options for FHA-insured and other loans; foreclosure laws and timelines; tips on effectively intervening with lenders and servicers; managing multiple mortgages or liens; and the pros and cons of refinancing. This course also satisfies the requirements for Part II of the NeighborWorks course, Housing Counseling Certification: Principles, Practices & Techniques, Part I, which together result in an official Counselor Certification through NeighborWorks America.

    Classes will be held at the Illinois Community Action Association (ICAA) Training Facility, 3435 Liberty Drive, Springfield, IL 62704. Call 217-789-0125 for more information. To register for this training, email heather@housingactionil.org.

    The Illinois Housing Development Authority will be holding training workshops for the Revised 2008- 2009 and the Illinois Affordable Housing Tax Credit Program. Workshops will be held Oct. 11 in Collinsville, Ill., Springfield, Ill, and Chicago.

    Another Tax Credit Allocation Plan workshop will also be held as part of the Second Annual Governor's Conference on Affordable Housing, Dec. 10-11 in Chicago. Contact Bret S. Beall at bbeal@ihda.org, or 312-836-5303, or Ingrid McClung at imcclung@ihda.org or 312-836-7403. Click here for more information.

    Our Preservation Organizing Training is underway! CRN has begun the first of several four- day trainings for community-based organizations involved with forming tenant associations. Through a partnership with the Midwest Academy, this new curriculum combines topics pertinent to those educating tenants and stakeholders about preserving at-risk rental housing. For more information, contact Rachel Johnson at rachel@chicagorehab.org.

    Additional trainings will be offered by CRN in coming months, including "Using TIF Resources for Affordable Housing" and "Tracking the Affordable Requirements Ordinance and Making It work for Your Neighborhood."

    We're also pleased to announce that Northern Trust will host the 2008 Community Development and Empowerment Series. Stay tuned for details!

  • Job Opportunities
  • Claretian Associates, is seeking applicants for the New Communities Program director position. Claretian Associates reaches more than 2,000 low- to moderate-income African-American and Latino families each year through housing placements, homeownership, financial literacy, rental assistance and referrals.

    The New Communities Program (NCP) is a long-term comprehensive community development initiative supported by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) that aims to support the implementation of locally-driven quality-of-life plans in targeted Chicago communities.

    NCP requires each organization to hire a skilled professional who will be responsible for leading and managing the organization's NCP effort. The NCP Director will interact with the organization's staff and board, neighborhood residents, businesses and local nonprofit organizations. The NCP Director will be responsible for stewarding the community's comprehensive quality-of-life plan, and implementing all facets of the strategy, reporting on the plan and leveraging financial and other resources to implement the plan. This position reports directly to the organization's Executive Director.

    Contact Angela Hurlock via e-mail at angelah@claretianassociates.org, or write to her at 9108 S. Brandon Avenue, Chicago, iL 60617.

    Click here for more about the NCP director position and Claretian Associates
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