News from the Chicago Rehab Network
30 years of Community Empowerment and Development without Displacement September 2011

In this issue

Federal Updates

Bickerdike, LSNA break ground on Zapata Apartments

Second Quarter Housing Report Released

Obama Administration announces Jobs Bill; Project Rebuild

Chicago among five cities receiving Choice Neighborhoods Initiatives awards

Chicago Housing Authority News: New Leadership, Lathrop, and Wait List

CRN adds voice to Capital One/ING Direct bank merger

Public Comment: IHDA QAP and Draft Consolidated Plan

Project-Based Contracts Administrator Update

Network NewsMakers

Photo: The Renaissance Collaborative's "Reinvesting in Bronzeville Gala"

Keep up with housing and community development news with CRN!

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Federal Updates

Senate's FY 2012 HUD Budget cuts funding to critical housing programs

The Senate Committee on Appropriations passed HUD's FY2012 appropriations bill on September 21st cutting even more of HUD's funding than the amount passed by the House version earlier this month.

Both House and Senate versions do not sufficiently fund renewals of the current Housing Choice Vouchers in place, and neither bill provides enough funding to ensure public housing agencies are able to maintain the stock of affordable housing.

In the coming weeks, the House and Senate will likely be in negotiations to reach a compromise bill. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities released a Memo outlining ways in which the House and Senate can use some of each chamber's more effective budgeting strategies that can fill the necessary funding gaps, while also taking advantage of rescission strategies to increase funding to more crucial housing programs.

The National Low-Income Housing Coalition also has a detailed budget comparison charts available here and discussed these changes in their most recent Memo to Members newsletter.

  • Bickerdike, LSNA break ground on Zapata Apartments
  • Zapata

    It was truly a festive day on September 13th when hundreds came out in the Logan Square community to break ground for Zapata Apartments, a brand new housing development that will give more than 60 families a place called home and brings much-needed economic vitality to the area.

    It has been a long time coming for supporters of Zapata Apartments, which will be developed in partnership between Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation and Logan Square Neighborhood Association. Bickerdike and LSNA faced several obstacles (primarily from NIMBY opposition) in the process to bring more than 60 new housing units on four separate sites on Armitage Avenue corridor which have sat vacant for more than two decades.

    In April of this year, a judge dismissed a lawsuit filed against the City of Chicago and Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation by a group opposing the development, calling it "deficient in law". The court established that the development constitutes a legitimate community benefit by providing housing to low- and moderate-income families and putting the long-vacant lots back to use.

    In addition to the residential units, Zapata Apartments will provide approximately 3,000 square feet of community space. The project will serve families earning at or below 60 percent of the Area Median Income, or $45,060 for a family of four, with 18 units for families earning at or below 30% of the Area Median Income, or $22,550 for a family of four.

    For more information, visit http://www.zapataapartments.org

    View more photos from the groundbreaking on our Facebook page.

    Joy Aruguete, Executive Director of Bickerdike and CRN Board President, addresses the crowd at the Zapata Groundbreaking celebration.

  • Second Quarter Housing Report Released
  • On September 14, 2011, the Committee on Housing and Real Estate held its second quarterly report hearing on the progress of the current Five Year Affordable Housing Plan.

    For the first time, the Chicago Housing Authority presented a brief overview to the Committee as part of the quarterly reporting process and the agency agreed to the Chairman Ray Suarez's request to report its progress at these public hearing twice a year. Carlos Ponce, the Interim Director of CHA provided an overview and summary of the current unit production and status of the Plan for Transformation and also accepted questions from the Committee.

    We have long recommended a CHA commitment and formal participation to this process to provide a better picture and assessment on how Chicago is meeting the affordable housing needs of its residents. We fully support CHA's participation in these public forums and commend the City's response to our calls to expand the accounting and review of affordable housing in Chicago at-large.

    CRN's testimony highlighted the City's targeted efforts to address the ongoing foreclosure crisis and provides an update on the status of the neighborhood Stabilization Program.

    Download CRN'sanalysis of the Second Quarter Housing Progress Report.

  • Obama Administration announces Jobs Bill; Project Rebuild
  • Early this month, President Obama unveiled his plan to create new jobs and stimulate the economy. The $447 billion American Jobs Act includes two housing-related initiatives that are designed to create jobs and stabilize communities through housing rehab and construction and making refinancing mortgages to more affordable levels more accessible.

    Project Rebuild is a $15 billion initiative that would build upon the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP). The program would expand the breadth of NSP by not only adding more funds to address more homes, but also by including commercial redevelopment among its goals. The program's funding allocation process would likely mirror that of NSP , where factors like foreclosure rates, default rates, unemployment, and other factors laid out by HUD will be taken into account

    (For more information about Project Rebuild, see FAQ's and Fact Sheet)

    In addition, the Jobs Bill aims to reform the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) and make mortgage refinancing more accessible to homeowners and take advantage of low-interest rates, even if their home is currently "underwater," when the current mortgage is greater than the home's value.

    For more information about the American Jobs Act see the White House press release.

  • Chicago among five cities receiving Choice Neighborhoods Initiatives awards
  • Chicago joins Boston, New Orleans, San Francisco, and Seattle as the first recipients of HUD's Choice Neighborhoods Initiative implementation grants, a new strategy that would link affordable housing with exiting community assets, education, public transportation, jobs, and public safety.

    Non-profit developer, Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH), is the recipient of the $30.5 million grant to implement a comprehensive development and revitalization plan for the Woodlawn community. POAH is the developer of Woodlawn Park, on the site of the former Grove Parc Plaza Apartments into a mixed-use, mixed-income community. According to POAH's plan, Woodlawn Park, which is located on Cottage grove Avenue a between 61st and 63rd Street, will serve as the anchor to the revitalization of Woodlawn. Key partners include the City of Chicago, LISC New Communities Program, Jane Addams Hull House, and the University of Chicago.

    For more information, see POAH's Announcement. To learn more about each city's plan, see HUD's Choice Neighborhoods grantee summary.

  • Chicago Housing Authority News: New Leadership, Lathrop, and Wait List
  • Here are several new developments concerning the Chicago Housing Authority:

    Charles Woodyard is New CHA CEO

    Mayor Emanuel announced last week the selection of Charles Woodyard as the new as CEO of the Chicago Housing Authority, effective October 24. Current interim CEO, Carlos Ponce, will stay on as a senior advisor to assist in the transition. Woodyard served as the CEO of the Charlotte Housing Authority since 2002.

    Read the Mayor's Press Release.

    CRN Members Bickerdike, Heartland among Lathrop Development Team

    The Chicago Housing Authority Board approved Lathrop Community Partners as the development team charged with the long-awaited redevelopment of Lathrop Homes (Watch CRN's Talking to Walls video on about Lathrop Homes). The team will be led by Related Midwest and includes Heartland Housing, Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation, Magellan Development Group and Ardmore Associates.

    Read CHA's press release on the announcement.

    North Side Public Housing Wait List Opens.

    CHA has opened a Scattered Site housing wait list for current residents of Jefferson Park, Hermosa, and Belmont Cragin community areas. Open registration is from September 26 to October 14, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm at 4511 West Parker.

    Click here to learn more about this opportunity.

  • CRN adds voice to Capital One/ING Direct bank merger
  • CRN Executive Director Kevin Jackson testified at yesterday's at the Public Meeting on the Capital One and ING Direct Acquisition at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. CRN is urging the Federal Reserve Board to require CRA obligations to Capital One, and ensure access to credit and community development lending that is crucial for the preservation and creation of affordable housing. Read CRN's Testimony here.

  • Public Comment: IHDA QAP and Draft Consolidated Plan
  • Comments on State of Illinois Draft Qualified Allocation Plan are due October 3rd. Visit the IHDA website to learn more.

    Public comments are also being sought for the State's Draft Consolidated Plan until October 26. A Public Notice has been issued and more information will be posted on IHDA's website at www.ihda.org.

  • Project-Based Contracts Administrator Update
  • In the last newsletter, we reported that IHDA was named by HUD as the new Project-Based Contract Administrator for Section 8 Housing Assistance Payment contracts for Illinois effective October 1st. HUD has now put this decision on hold and in the meantime, the National Housing Compliance (formally Georgia HAP) remains the main contact for Section 8 housing contracts.

  • Network NewsMakers
    • Best wishes to Bill Eager who is leaving the City of Chicago Department of Housing and Economic Development to lead Preservation of Affordable Housing's Chicago Office. POAH, based in Massachusetts, was recently awarded HUD's CHOICE Neighborhood Initiatives grant. (See article above)
    • Best wishes to Jamiko Rose who has left her position as the Organization of the Northeast's Executive Director to be the new Chief Family and Community Engagement Officer of the Chicago Public Schools.
    • Welcome to Perry L. Gunn, who was appointed as the new Executive Director of North River Commission this summer.
    • Housing Action Illinois Housing Matters! 2011 Annual Conference and 25th Anniversary Celebration will be held on November 10-11 at the Crowne Plaza Chicago Metro. For more information, visit www.housingactionil.org/conference
    • Housing Action Illinois also has a job opening for a Director of Technical Assistance.
    • Holsten Human Capital Development is holding its first Community Sustainability Awards on October 6. Visit http://hhcd.org for tickets and more information.
    • The Center for Neighborhood Technology is celebrating its 33 (and 1/3) anniversary on Friday, September 30th at Green Home Chicago, 213 N. Morgan Street #1D. Visit http://www.cnt.org/events/33years for more info.
    • Genesis Housing Development Corporation will hold its annual Healing Hands fundraiser on October 13. Details can be found here.

  • Photo: The Renaissance Collaborative's "Reinvesting in Bronzeville Gala"
  • TRC Gala

    Pat Abrams (center), Executive Director of The Renaissance Collaborative and CRN Board Vice-President catches up with Kevin Jackson and Cook County Board President , Toni Preckwinkle. (Photo by Jim Morris, jimmorrisphotography.com)

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    Chicago Rehab Network http://www.chicagorehab.org