News from the Chicago Rehab Network
30 years of Community Empowerment and Development without Displacement October/November 2009

In this issue

Olympics Aftermath - MOU and Michael Reese site

2010 Proposed City Budget Released

Profile: Spanish Coalition for Housing

Senator Dodd Introduces Bill Calling for Financial Reform

Federal Advocacy Alerts - Important Bills Need Your Support!

Moving Towards Permanent Affordability

Understanding Foreclosures Workshop Series

Research: Fact Sheet and Foreclosure Reports

"Talking to Walls" Grows, Advocating for affordable housing in Chicago

Participate in the Metro Chicago CDC Census

Network NewsMakers and Upcoming Events

Keep up with housing and community development news with CRN!

Public Comment Notice - The State of Illinois is seeking comments on Neighborhood Stabilization Program amendment


Olympics Aftermath - MOU and Michael Reese site

On October 2nd, the city's hopes to become the host city for the 2016 Olympic Games were dashed with Chicago being the first to be eliminated by the International Olympic Committee and the award eventually going to Rio de Janeiro.

In the last two years, the prospect of the Olympic Games arriving in Chicago raised both concern and hope for Chicago's non-profit community-based organizations who, for decades, have worked to improve and revitalize the city's neighborhoods. It has been well-documented that the arrival of the Olympics fuels speculative markets which lead to the inflation of housing costs and displacement of residents.

However, the Olympic frenzy spurred unprecedented financial support from industries and individuals to make a better Chicago. The rally around Chicago's Olympic bid catalyzed new and ambitious plans to invest in communities that need it most. The bid effort also underscored some of the greatest needs in Chicago's neighborhoods-affordable housing, economic development and job training, better transportation and infrastructure-and with or without the Olympics, these needs have not changed.

Additionally, Chicago 2016, the organization that led the bid, was recognized for its inclusive committee work in involving the community in creating its vision and goals enshrined in the Memorandum of Understanding signed in March.

In the wake of the Olympic loss, however, the MOU, with all of the good work captured in the document, no longer applies. This includes the affordability requirements set forth in the Memorandum of Understanding which is no longer enforceable despite plans for the redevelopment of the 37-acre Michael Reese site still moving forward.

The former site of the proposed Olympic Village, the Michael Reese complex is still slated to be developed into a new mixed-income community but the timeline now is unclear given that the city no longer has an Olympic deadline. According to the terms of the sale, the City does not have to make its first payment on the purchase until 2014.

In the meantime, the City has already moved forward with demolition and has plans to issue a request for qualifications sometime next year to identify qualified developers. According to the Department of Community Development, two buildings on the site-including the contested Singer Pavilion by famed architect Walter Gropius-are not part of the demolition plan submitted by the Public Buildings Commission. However, Commissioner Raguso did not rule out the possibility that, given the City's desire to recover the $91 million it spent on the site, saving the Gropius building may not be economically feasible. Raguso states that the final determination will hinge on the request for proposals process.

  • 2010 Proposed City Budget Released
  • Last week, Mayor Daley unveiled the proposed City Budget for 2010, and in an effort to plug a $520 million deficit the city will borrow a total of $370 million from the parking meter lease proceeds. This includes drawing down $270 million from the Parking Meter Fund long-term reserves and forwarding $100 million from midterm reserves meant for 2012. The advance will leave about $170 million in the parking meter reserves. The city also proposes to balance the $6.1 billion budget by eliminating city job vacancies and cost of living increases for non-union employees, more furlough days, and restructuring city debt.The city maintains that the Skyway reserves will not be touched. In all, $730 million in reserves from both the Parking Meter and Skyway leases will remain through 2010.

    Skyway lease proceeds were a critical source of funds for affordable housing programs such as the Low Income Housing Trust Fund. The final disbursement from the Skyway fund was made last year and the FY 2010 Budget proposes to use $100 million from the Parking Meter Lease to replace the Human Infrastructure Fund for an additional four years.

    We recognize the city's commitment to affordability and to improve the quality of life for many struggling Chicagoans, especially in this time of economic need. The new fund will allow for the continuation of much-needed programs that provide affordable housing by maintaining funding levels for the Low-Income Housing Trust Fund, homeless assistance through the Plan to End Homelessness, job training, and help low-income families with heating costs. In total, $56.5 million of the Parking Meter Human Infrastructure Fund will be allocated to the 2010 Budget.

    The Parking Meter Human Infrastructure fund will also be allocated to new programs including:

    • $35 million for a Property Tax Relief Program, which will provide grants up to $200 per household to help with property tax increases;
    • $700,000 for homeless shelter beds
    • $8.4 million on a new Chicago Tech Corps Program to provide technology training for laid-off workers

    While we support the extension of the human infrastructure fund, we are concerned that a more than half of this four-year fund has already been allocated to 2010. Furthermore, with revenues expected to decline and millions of dollars from the mid- and long-term reserves already allocated in this proposed budget, the future funding for these critical programs is in question.

    Download CRN's budget analysis and please mark your calendars for a public hearing on the city budget on Wednesday, November 18th at 11:00 am. To learn about the budget process and affordable housing, download CRN's Budget Toolkit.

  • Profile: Spanish Coalition for Housing
  • It was almost noon on a Saturday morning when organizers of the November 7th Keep Your Home Loan Modification event decided to stop taking in more people, capping the number of participants at 240. With a tremendous response and not enough counselors on hand, it was a difficult decision to make but it underscored the overwhelming impact of foreclosures and the dedication of those on the front lines of this crisis.

    The Spanish Coalition for Housing, a CRN member, was one of the organizers of the event which was held to determine if troubled homeowners were eligible for the Making Home Affordable program, a national loan modification program under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. Homeowners filled the cafeteria of Aspira Early College clutching stacks of paperwork and FedEx envelopes--a sure sign according to those in the counseling business that the homeowner had already received a temporary modification offer from their lender. Many of the homeowners were already months into their modification process. Some were there because they had their first missed payment on their mortgage and came to seek advice from housing counselors.

    Spanish Coalition for Housing (SCH), headed by Executive Director Ofelia Navarro, has been providing homebuyer counseling services, education, and resources for homeowners for over 40 years. Created in 1966, SCH became the first organization in Chicago to be certified as a Housing Counseling Agency by the Department of Housing and Urban Development in 1973. The Spanish Coalition for Housing has three offices in predominantly Latino communities, a demographic hit hard by foreclosures, and provides an invaluable service to Spanish-speaking communities who do not have many options for bilingual resources to help with homebuyer and financial counseling.

    Housing counselors are indeed at the front lines of the foreclosure crisis and counseling cases are growing at incredible rates. SCH has had over 2,000 cases this year through October, a 500 percent increase from its caseload in 2005. Navarro reports that about 80 percent of their cases this year have resulted in "saves", or cases where families were able to keep their homes and avoided foreclosure-at least for the short term as the vast majority of modifications that homeowners are able to get are temporary lasting 3-5 months. In the event that a homeowner is foreclosed upon, Navarro and her staff try to place families in rental housing using their network of landlords in the community. Yet the lack of affordable rental housing compounds the need. SCH currently has over 4,000 families in their waiting list.

    Counseling agencies like Spanish Coalition for Housing receive funding from the Illinois Housing Development Authority under the National Foreclosure Mitigation Program (NFMP) which is administered by NeighborWorks America. However their work may be undermined by a substantial decrease in funding levels for next year. On October 1st, it was announced that IHDA will receive $1.4 million in NFMP funds, significantly lower than the $3.1 million it was awarded in December 2008.

    Navarro believes that counseling cases are only going to increase as unemployment rates continue to climb and that there is much room for improvement in the current policies meant to help mitigate foreclosures. For one, participation by financial institutions in the Making Home Affordable Program is voluntary. Additionally, the program does little to help those without any income because the program is designed to lower mortgage payments to a more affordable rate and thus requires that the homeowner have some sort of income.

    For more information about Spanish Coalition for Housing, visit their website at http://www.sc4housing.org.

    To find a HUD-approved housing counseling agency, visit http://www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/hcc/hcs.cfm

  • Senator Dodd Introduces Bill Calling for Financial Reform
  • Senator Chris Dodd, the Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, introduced a financial reform bill that will create a new agency to enforce the Community Reinvestment Act. The bill will create the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA), an independent entity tasked to protect consumers from deceptive practices in the financial markets and ensure accountability and responsibility in the nation's financial system. Dodd's bill provides greater oversight and protection than the House bill which passed.

    The National Community Reinvestment Coalition summarized the following key points in the bill:

    • The Senate bill gives the CFPA the authority to develop rules, disclosures and product standards for banks.
    • The Senate bill keeps the President's proposal to transfer enforcement authority for the Community Reinvestment Act to the new CFPA.
    • The Senate bill keeps a requirement that financial firms must offer financial products with terms and conditions that consumers reasonably can understand. The House bill removed this requirement in favor of weaker protections. If enacted into law, the House bill leaves open the door to another financial crisis caused by intentionally confusing and complex financial products.
    • The Senate bill covers important financial players included in the President's proposal with full oversight, including car dealers. Car dealers had been exempted by the House bill. These exemptions create an unlevel playing field where certain aspects of the credit markets are allowed to continue to exploit working families and undermine their potential to leverage their financial resources.
    • The Senate bill provides regular examinations by the CFPA of 100% of banks and their affiliates. The House bill exempts 98% of banks (8,000 of 8,200), all of which were covered by the President's plan, from the full scrutiny of the proposed new CFPA. By requiring regular examinations by the CFPA of only the largest financial institutions, the House bill fails to ensure adequate protection for working families that bank with small and midsize banks.

    The bill's passage will need your support! Please tell your elected leaders that American consumers need accountability and responsibility in the financial sector.

  • Federal Advocacy Alerts - Important Bills Need Your Support!
  • Funding the National Housing Trust Fund

    The National Housing Trust Fund will receive much-needed funding under the "Main Street TARP Act" (H.R. 3766). Introduced by Rep. Barney Frank, the bill would transfer $1 billion in untapped TARP funds to the NHTF. In addition it would limit rents for tenants in NHTF homes to 30% of their income.

    In addition, ask Sen. Burris to join Sen. Durbin in supporting a similar bill introduced by Sen. Jack Reed. The "Preserving Homes and Communities Act" (S. 1731) would transfer $1 billion to NHTF from the "sale of warrants" required in TARP. It would also provide $6.4 billion in credit or loans for financially-strapped owner-occupants but could still make mortgage payments.

    Time to reinvigorate the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program

    CRN, along with Affordable Rental Housing A.C.T.I.O.N. (A Call To Invest in Our Neighborhoods), is also working on provisions to enhance the Low Income Housing Tax Credit.

    Affordable Rental Housing A.C.T.I.O.N., a grassroots campaign led by a broad coalition of over 100 cross-industry organizations focused on ensuring that families have access to affordable housing are working to reinvigorate the tax credit market for affordable housing. The goals are to create an additional 123,000 affordable apartments and create or save 232,000 more jobs which would generate $50 billion in additional local income and $8 billion in additional taxes and revenue to localities nationwide.

    Contact Senators Durbin and Burris and let them know you support affordable housing:

    The Honorable Richard Durbin
    309 Hart Senate Bldg
    Washington, DC 20510

    The Honorable Roland Burris
    387 Russell Senate Office Building
    Washington, DC 20510

    You can find your representative at www.house.gov

    Use this model letter and reference the Illinois Fact Sheet. Please let us know if you met with success or what type of response you received.

    Increasing CHDO Operating Funds

    Community development advocates are pushing for an amendment to include language in the FY 2010 HUD appropriations bill to direct Participating Jurisdictions to provide the full 5% of HOME funds to Community Housing Development Organizations (CHDO) operating expenses.

    The National Alliance of Community Economic Development Association (NACEDA) has sent a letter to Secretary Shaun Donovan asking him to support the amendment.

  • Moving Towards Permanent Affordability
  • Chicago Rehab Network Executive Director, Kevin Jackson and Department of Community Development Deputy Commissioner Ellen Sahli traveled to New York in October to participate in a national forum on permanent affordability hosted by the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development (ANHD), a coalition of over 100 neighborhood-based housing groups. The convening, held at the Ford Foundation, drew 60 housing officials, policy experts, practitioners, and advocates from Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, San Francisco and Washington DC, as well as New York City to share best practices in programs and policies that enable permanent affordability.

    ANHD began exploring permanent affordability in early 2008. Recognizing that throughout the history of innovative housing policy and even with billions of dollars in investment to create safe, decent affordable housing, there continues to be a shortage of affordable housing. The permanent affordability initiative seeks to employ strategies that would create the greatest number of units for the most needy and to be affordable for the longest period of time. More details and potential strategies are included in ANHD's groundbreaking 2008 report, "Roadmap to Permanent Affordability."

    Participants also explored ways to elevate the issue at the national level as Congress and the Obama Administration explore ways to improve federal housing policy. Becky Koepnick, Senior Advisor to Secretary Donovan at HUD, moderated a panel of national policy experts who identified opportunities to realize permanent affordability at the federal level. All the participants came away from the convening energized and convinced that this is the moment to push our elected officials and policy makers to ensure our public resources generate the maximum public benefit.

    Photo by David Hanzel, ANHD: Left to Right, George McCarthy, Ford Foundation; Matt Schwartz, California Housing Partnership Corporation; Benjamin Dulchin, ANHD; Kevin Jackson; Don Bianci, Massachusetts Association of CDCs.

  • Understanding Foreclosures Workshop Series
  • CRN's Understanding Foreclosure workshop series began Friday, October 30th with the kickoff workshop focused on property research. Erica Pascal of Hispanic Housing led the first half focusing on the legal process of foreclosure. Ms. Pascal guided the class from beginning to end of the daunting legal procedure; entering a default, hearings, liens, short sales, sheriff sales and everything between. Additionally, she identified property searching tools and how to piece together all the information required to acquire property once Real Estate Owned.

    Teresa Prim of Prim Lawrence Group picked it up from there and led the group through the actual process of choosing property, assessing the rehab, and identifying an organization's financial feasibility. The day was a timely resource as many organizations seek foreclosure solutions.

    Keep a lookout for the next workshop in the Understanding Foreclosure series and be sure to make your reservation.

    CRN would like to thank The Private Bank for generously hosting the workshop and Chase Bank for their support of CRN's technical assistance programs.

    Photo: Erica Pascal explains the foreclosure process to workshop participants.

  • Research: Fact Sheet and Foreclosure Reports
  • The August and September 2009 foreclosure reports are now available. Visit CRN's Foreclosure page to view the reports.

    CRN has also released its 2009 Fact Sheet using data from the most recent American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau.

    Major findings include the following:

    • The share of homeowners who are cost burdened increased from about one in three mortgage-holders in 2000 to one in two in 2008.
    • Overall, about half of all Chicago households spend more than a third of their income on housing. Households earning below the City's median household income--$46,911--bear the brunt of housing costs: four out of five renters who earn less than $50,000 annually are cost burdened. Among owners, two out of three mortgage -holders earning between $50,000 and $75,000 annually--well above the city median--spend more than a third of their income on housing. Owners with monthly housing costs of over $2,000 increased seven-fold since 2000. A household would need to earn at least $85,000 to afford that payment.
    • After falling 14 percent from 2000 to 2007, renter households increased by 4 percent in 2008 from the prior year indicating an increasing demand for rental housing. There are 18,400 fewer owner households in 2008 from the prior year. Renter households, on the other hand, show the opposite trend.
    • Foreclosure filings are increasing at a faster rate. In the first half of 2009, the number of foreclosure filings is already 63 percent of the total foreclosure filings in 2008. In a year and a half, over $8 billion worth of mortgages went into foreclosure.

    Download the 2009 Housing Fact Sheet

  • "Talking to Walls" Grows, Advocating for affordable housing in Chicago
  • In January of this year Chicago Rehab Network began exploring the possibility of harnessing different multimedia communications to capture the voices of men and women affected and involved by the affordable housing in Chicago neighborhoods. This important new arm of CRN publications now produces not only podcasts, but short videos as well.

    Covering a range of topics from Bickerdike's Section 8 Lottery to the CDC Census, Talking to Walls projects have been used to promote the preservation of affordable housing and the valuable work CRN's members. Already, Talking to Walls has released a podcast and three short videos that can be found on our website.

    Listen to the latest podcasts, "This is Their Home: Stories of the Hollywood House Preservation" and "This is Joli(ET)", a profile on the residents of Evergreen Terrace.

    Also in the works is a collaboration with Logan Square Neighborhood Association and the Lathrop Homes Leadership Team is a video about Lathrop Homes which will include interviews with Lathrop residents, alumni, and allies. We are excited about the capacity that Talking to Walls has in advocating for the affordable housing needs of Chicago residents, and hope that you find them helpful!

    To learn more about Talking to Walls and watch or listen to our videos and podcasts visit www.chicagorehab.org/TalkingToWalls.aspx.

    If you have any questions or would like to contribute an idea for a story, please contact CRN at 312-663-3936.

  • Participate in the Metro Chicago CDC Census
  • Chicago Amp_logo

    The Chicago Rehab Network is redoubling its efforts to complete the first annual Metro Chicago CDC Census. To date, the census has recorded over 4,000 units developed by CDCs.

    Make sure your organization is counted in this landmark initiative to detail the scope and depth of CDC impact in the Metro Chicago area. CRN staff will make this process simple, as they are available to come to your organization to help you fill out your exclusive page. If you have been invited to the Census and have not completed it, CRN will provide a staff member to assist you.

    If you would like to be counted among the achievements of Metro Chicago CDCs, email census@chicagorehab.org to be given a link to an individualized online census page for your organization to complete. Help us show the impact of the CDC movement in Chicago by being a part of this ongoing effort.

  • Network NewsMakers and Upcoming Events
  • A warm welcome to Gloria L. Materre, former deputy chief of staff under Governor Pat Quinn, who was appointed as the new executive director of the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA). Materre succeeds DeShana L. Forney, who resigned to pursue other career opportunities.

    Congratulations to Paul Roldan, President and Founder of Hispanic Housing Development Corporation who was recently honored with lifetime industry leadership award at Roosevelt University Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate Annual Gala on October 28.

    Claretian Associates received a Count Me In grant through the Illinois Census Funders Initiative to increase response rates in the 2010 census in communities that are at risk for being undercounted.

    LCDC and Goodcity have issued a request for proposals to find and support the development of non-profit organizations in the North Lawndale community. For more information and to obtain an application, go to www.goodcitychicago.org or contact Tracie Worthy at 773-762-8889, ext. 12

    LUCHA will hold the following FREE Homebuyer Workshops scheduled on Saturdays from 10:00AM to 2:00PM. The next workshop will be held on November 21st and sponsored by Harris Bank. All workshops will be held at Humboldt Park Residence - SRO 1152 N. Christiana. You must attend the class to obtain the program's benefit. Refreshments and Snacks will be served. To register call Eliseo Barbosa, Gerry Martinez, Tenille Hawthorne, Ruth Dominguez (773) 276-5338

    Do you have an event or announcement you would like on Network NewsMakers? Please send them to pia@chicagorehab.org or call CRN at 312-663-3936.

  • Keep up with housing and community development news with CRN!
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  • Public Comment Notice - The State of Illinois is seeking comments on Neighborhood Stabilization Program amendment
  • The amendment seeks to transfer the lead administration duties of the State NSP to the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) from the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS).

  • 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

  • This publication is generously supported by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation and the Chicago Community Loan Fund
  • Rachel Johnston rachel@chicagorehab.org
    Chicago Rehab Network http://www.chicagorehab.org

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