News from the Chicago Rehab Network
30 years of Community Empowerment and Development without Displacement July 2008

In this issue

2016 Olympics and Chicago Neighborhoods

CDCs Gather to Discuss Foreclosure Re-Use Strategies

CRN and WECAN Workshop Links Renters with Housing Advocates

Department of Housing's First Quarter Production

Federal Policy Updates

Meet Your Representatives in August

A Picture of Chicago Foreclosures

CRN In the News


2016 Olympics and Chicago Neighborhoods

The recent news by the International Olympic Committee placing Chicago as one of the top four contenders for the 2016 Games brings a new urgency to find ways to include an assessment of potential impacts of this mega-event on housing and Chicago's neighborhoods.

The city is moving forward. At the July 9th City Council hearing, an ordinance was introduced to acquire the Michael Reese Hospital site for the proposed Olympic Village for $85 million. This is a departure from the previous plan to build the Olympic Village over the truck yards just south of McCormick Place. Under the new plans, that site would be converted into a park. Mayor Daley has announced in many occasions that the Village would be built regardless of the results of Chicago's Olympic bid.

The impact on housing prices is a concern given the history of displacement resulting from Olympic events. CRN has outlined its preliminary recommendations is available for download here.

More Information:

  • CDCs Gather to Discuss Foreclosure Re-Use Strategies
  • Ready to work and armed with collective years of expertise, community development practitioners throughout Chicago gathered on June 25th at CRN's Foreclosure Re-Use Strategy Session for a day of sharing and exchanging of ideas and solutions to stem the impact of foreclosures in our communities. The strategy session is a first step towards an organized effort by CDC practitioners to create strategies that reclaim foreclosed properties as valuable assets to a community. The housing crisis today threatens to shake the foundation built by decades of community and capacity building endeavors of community developers (Read CRN Network News article, "Foreclosures Not A Surprise"). CRN and its various stakeholders are committed to finding creative and viable solutions to mitigate the impacts of foreclosures.

    Generously hosted and co-sponsored by the Federal Reserve Board of Chicago, the day began with a presentation by guest speaker Mary Tingerthal of the Housing Partnership Network. Recognizing that foreclosure strategies abound yet vary by circumstances and scope, Ms. Tingerthal outlined various foreclosure mitigation tactics employed across the nation and prepared the day's participants for the large and small group brainstorming sessions. Examples include the following:

    The working groups allowed participants to explore different types of re-use strategies to return foreclosed properties back in service and promote the affordable use of these existing properties. The types of use discussed include for-sale housing, lease to own, rental, and mutual housing. These diverse use types allow for many options for different types of buyers and tenants who have different financial situations. Of utmost importance is that foreclosed properties are returned to use in a sustainable manner for the community-as assets rather than eyesores-while opening more doors for many families to live more affordably.

    To achieve success with such a large-scale undertaking means that a substantial commitment from local stakeholders must occur. Additionally, access to resources is needed, as well as curtailing time-consuming and often costly regulatory barriers to acquire and manage foreclosed properties by CDCs.

    The issue of scale is also important. From a practical view, Chicago's diverse housing stock precludes a blanket application of a specific re-use model. More importantly, as community-based practitioners, we are deeply aware of the value of local context and place-based housing policy and development and thus a localized effort will necessarily be a relevant and contributing factor.

    We welcome your ideas and concerns. Please contact us at 312-663-3936 or email Rachel Johnston at Rachel@chicagorehab.org.

    Multi-City Pilot Program to Address Foreclosures Launches Creative Solutions

    We learned recently that the Living Cities program, a corporate and philanthropic collaboration of the National Community Development Initiative, will support the creation of foreclosure mitigation models in six cities. Click below fto read more:

  • CRN and WECAN Workshop Links Renters with Housing Advocates
  • EdSacksCIC/RADR

    Over 75 people attended a series of workshops Consumer Rights and Responsibilities held at the Jackson Park Field House in Woodlawn on Saturday, June 21st. The event was organized by Woodlawn East Community and Neighbors (WECAN) and sponsored by a handful of CRN partners and member organizations. Following an introduction by head of WECAN Mattie Butler, participants chose between two workshops:

    Leaders from Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO), Southside Together Organizing for Power (STOP), the Edwin F. Mandel Legal Clinic and Sargent Shriver Center paneled a workshop focused on federally-subsidized housing, while representatives from the Metropolitan Tenants Organization, Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago, Lawyers Committee for Better Housing facilitated a workshop on market-rate rental. Illinois State Representative Kenneth Dunkin was also in attendance, and spoke with speakers and participants.

    Finally, the two groups reassembled for a session on conflict-resolution led by Ed Sacks of the Community Investment Corporation/Radar Project. Participants learned through role play, group activities and discussion how to advocate for themselves as tenants as well as how to cultivate a healthy relationship with their landlord.

    Photo: Ed Sacks, CIC/Radar Project

  • Department of Housing's First Quarter Production
  • On the June 18th Committee on Housing and Real Estate hearing, CRN presented its analysis of the Department of Housing's 1st Quarter 2008 production report.

    Entering the final year of the City's third Five Year Affordable Housing Plan, Commissioner Ellen Sahli reports that the Department is on track to meet its Five Year Plan goals despite the slow housing market and its impact on the city's housing production and programs. (Read about the hearing here)

    CRN's analysis highlighted the need to reconcile the decreasing number of units leveraged by the traditional sources of funding like the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit and market-dependent programs like the Downtown Density Bonus, and the increasing numbers of displaced residents and foreclosed properties, especially multi-family stock. Further, CRN requested clarification on the Department's reporting protocols for the City Mortgage program.Download CRN's 1st Quarter 2008 DOH Analysis.

  • Federal Policy Updates
  • U.S. Capitol

    Of the affordable housing legislation introduced in the current 110th Congress, a major housing stimulus package, the Housing and Economic Recovery Act, stands the greatest chance of becoming law. The legislation combines a number of bipartisan bills, including:

    • Allowing the FHA to insure the refinancing of loans at risk for foreclosure and increasing FHA loan limits
    • Providing $3.9 billion towards the purchase of foreclosed-on properties

    Affordable housing advocates are celebrating in particular the inclusion of a GSE reform provision, which would establish a National Low Income Housing Trust Fund. On July 11th, the Senate passed this bill and negotiations are currently underway.

  • Meet Your Representatives in August
  • As the end of summer rapidly approaches, so does Congress' August Recess. The House and the Senate will break for their summer recess on August 9th and reconvene September 7th. Your Congressmen will return to their various districts and meet with different constituents and entities. Your representative may visit a school, drop by a church, or meet with a neighborhood resident board. The options are endless. During this August recess, we strongly encourage you to meet your representatives and invite them into your communities; show them what has been taking place. A sample letter can be downloaded here and used to send to your Congressmen to help facilitate the meeting. To learn more about your representatives, go to http://whoismyrepresentative.com.

  • A Picture of Chicago Foreclosures
  • The April and May reports are available on our website. Download the April and May reports.

  • CRN In the News
  • CRN Executive Director, Kevin Jackson was quoted in the current issue of the Chicago Reporter. The entire issue highlights the impact of the foreclosure crisis on renters. In the article Rental Runaround, renters who end up evicted when their landlords go into foreclosure have an especially hard time looking for affordable rental housing in the aftermath of the massive number of condominium conversions in the last decade. Furthermore, incomes of Chicagoans aren't up to pace with the rise in housing costs. Read more here.

  • Help Build The Network!
  • The Chicago Rehab Network is the oldest and largest coalition of non-profit community developers and practitioners in the Midwest.

    CRN works to provide a foundation for new strategies for effective policy, communications, training and technical assistance to support the development and preservation of affordable housing across Chicago.

    You can support our work by spreading the word about CRN or by making a donation.

    Click Here to Support CRN

    Rachel Johnston rachel@chicagorehab.org
    Chicago Rehab Network http://www.chicagorehab.org

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