Affordability and Income Diversity Hot Topics
or can I afford to stay here and in my home?

Presented by Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference, a Chicago neighborhood association since 1949,
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The other Hot Topics Community Issues sections: Accessibility. Development. Quality. Schools. University of Chicago

See CECD website for reports including on the Feb. 25 2012 forum on the state of affordable rental housing in Hyde Park and Kenwood (based in part on Institute of Housing at DePaul studies), which led to commissioning of a Market Survey on affordable rental housing in Hyde Park-Kenwood (underway and including by assoc. prof. Janet Smith of UIC Voorhees Ctr.) HPKCC is one of the underwriters. About:

CECD website is -

HPKCC, with CECD and the Southeast Coalition testified at the Metra board meeting July 22 2015 to push for a real seamless transfer system, as in the intent of the 2011. Read background, testimony and results, and media articles in Metratransferability. We believe this is an affordability and social justice issue.

Pat Wilcoxen of CECD reports this important City Hyde Park opportunity for seniors or other moderate-income persons and couples July 9, 2015. The rental office for City Hyde Park is in the 1300 block of East 53rd St. (MAC Properties).

The Coalition for Equitable Community Development (CECD) is concerned that Hyde Park/Kenwood remain a racially and economically diverse community. To do that, we must have some affordable rental housing.
We are currently looking forward to the opening of City Hyde Park (corner of 51st & Lake Park Ave.). They have begun taking applications for occupancy this Winter. There will be a total of 36 affordable studio & 1 bedroom apartments in City Hyde Park.
Half of them will be rented to 1 person households with incomes below $31,920 or 2 person households with incomes below $36,480. And the other half to households of 1 below $26,600 or 2 persons below $30,400.
This location is ideal for air conditioned elevator building, on good public transportation routes, with shopping nearby. If someone you know is interested we would be happy to talk with them, or they can contact City Hyde Park directly. We can also talk about additional plans for other units elsewhere with up to 2 bedrooms and slightly higher income caps.
The rents for the higher income households cited above will be $736 for studio apartments and $790 for 1 bedrooms. The lower income limits above will have rents of $613 for studios and $647 for 1 bedrooms. In all cases the residents will be responsible for their own utilities including heating, cooling, cooking gas and other electric.
Pat Wilcoxen, CECD President phone: 773-643-7495 email:

A rising issue is affordability, especially for retail, and the right retail balance. Good article in the March 24, 2014 Tribune.

At the end of August 2011, announced was that Chicago won one of 5 Choice Neighborhood Initiative Grants, in this case $30.5 million for GROVE PARC and its manager PoAH. It's directed to Grove Parc by Mayor Emanuel to help make this 504 unit complex south of 61st at Cottage Grove an anchor. It is part of the MOU agreement of the city (interagency) and U of C for planning and redevelopment of the whole area and is tied by the Mayor to his foreclosure program that targets inter alia West Woodlawn and to efforts to focus on rebuilding communities including jobs and not just spreading money around. The $30.5m is hoped to leverage up to $272 m.

HPKCC works mainly in collaboration with others to promote affordability (recognizing problems with defining that and also with official criteria). HPKCC actively pushes with regard to development for affordable residential set asides and for affordable retail spaces that will have attractive goods most of us can afford to buy, and monitors factors that may be contributing to high residential and commercial rent, such as allegedly the University of Chicago.
Visit our housing affordability information homepage and its many links to reports on what's happening and help available. See also applicable sections of our Community Nonprofits, Community Resources, and Helpline pages (see there also March 27 connection seminar on foreclosure prevention).

Many of our HPKCC members and many others in the community frequently assert that they either could not now buy the housing in which they or their parents now or formerly lived in Hyde Park, that they are being squeezed by rising assessments and taxes, that they may not be able to continue to live where they (owned or rental) or find such affordable and accessible places when they retire and become less agile, and that there is no retirement facility or independent or assisted living facility they can afford in the neighborhood. They see their friends and colleagues (such as former teachers) having to leave Hyde Park. They observe that developers and property managers such as MAC properties upgrade and steeply raise rents in whole complexes such as the Algonquin, Del Prado, (future) Shoreland, and in many small and mid-sized rental buildings. They see that much of the housing stock has been converted to condos they cannot afford-- and this could resume when the economy picks up. Or if they live in condos, especially larger buildings, they see special assessments-- including for city-mandated facade, life/safety and elevator work-- they fear they will lose their homes. And little affordable housing gets build here (is uneconomic) while the stock goes down citywide.

In response to two largely attended forums in 2007 and 2008 (promoted and participated in by HPKCC) on the observation that the middle class, especially seniors, and other segments from young faculty to the poor were being priced out of housing and the community, and desire to find solutions and create alternative spaces, the Coalition for Equitable Community Development was formed in 2008. It has since actively negotiated to make affordable housing in specific buildings, especially those being remodeled or in conjunction with developments, advocated for affordable set aside standards in developments and for affordable amenities such as transit, and started research on housing stock, costs and trends in the neighborhood and to identify housing suitable to be made affordable or the feasibility of building affordable retirement space in Hyde Park. HPKCC is proud to be an anchor coalition partner.
CECD website. Our page on the birth and issues of CECD and its findings and meetings. CECD July 2010 Newsletter.

In addition, organizations such as the Older Women's League Hyde Park look at how the housing crunch is tied in with accessibility (in homes, street and public buildings) and with wider affordability stresses-- healthcare cost and local provision and being able to stay in your home if ill or partially impaired, services and goods people have to buy, low cost and convenient transportation, even development-- will there only be left here stores with stuff middle class residents don't want or can't afford? They are looking into cohousing, cooperative housing, shared housing, and the "village" program, in effect a buying and services system. Others working on housing and affordability options and restoring people to self sufficiency, particularly for the marginalized, are Interfaith Open Communities, HPK Transitional Housing Project, the HP & K Interfaith Council and many faith institution committees, and the Hyde Park Hunger Programs. Links to these are in the pages linked near the top.

In addition to "affordability" and what might even be called a "right" for long timers not to be priced out of their community, HPKCC has fought since its founding in 1949 for Income Diversity as well as racial diversity as defining characters, hallmarks -- and asset-- of Hyde Park and Kenwood. This translates to being welcoming and inclusive and inviting all to participate in decisions that affect the community. These were a premise and spur to our very founding. (Of course, we have always wanted it all-- including the "high standards" part of our original mission, applied inclusively and in a welcoming manner. This leads to a very troubling issue on which Hyde Park has a divided stance: homeless persons. Takes on this question, from our neighborhood and broader reports, are in the Ending Homelessness page.

Another trend in 2010- the big players cite increased rental demand and demand for living in Hyde Park. No word on whether rents are on the rise. But some smaller landlords say demand is down as perhaps soured condos create a shadow rental market and perhaps renters have more choices.

Depending on which way you look at it, seniors lucked out or again fail to pull their weight as a state Senate committee fails in April 2010 to pass return of seniors to half fare except those who qualify for circuit breaker tax relief. Actual seniors appear divided on the issue.
Meanwhile, we all will have to pay to park on the Lakefront (and later in other parks). The ripple in dense areas like East Hyde Park on affordability could be large.

A particular hotspot in summer 2010 was Antheus purchase and closure of the deteriorated Sutherland for rehab as 1/3 affordable and 2/3 market, and arrangement of help for the tenants being who have to leave (by Oct. 31). Those in good standing can apply, free, for consideration when the building reopens. More coming.

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