To Tracking Community Trends. Community News. Development Policy. Taxes/Assessments and Seniors breaks. Woodlawn News. Health Services Issues. Public Safety (Panhandling). Thoughts at the April 2004 Community Redevelopment Conference. Payday Loans. For some bills in the General Assembly see Raoul. Hunger and how it ties to so much else. Helpline. Community Organizations. Affordability and affordable housing homepage.

Promoting Affordability and Combating Homelessness; preservation and reclamation of our housing stock, families, and economic diversity
Housing Set-aside ordinance, Homesharing option, Mixed-income housing issues, South Side redevelopment strategies.
Join the Conference: help support our work toward a caring, diverse, secure, attractive community.

Page index.

Visit our new Affordable Housing Section, including Report on the April 29 forum (including lead partners in Affordability Task Force), Report on the May 19 2007 Summit, and Affordability Information (home). Foreclosures. About the Hyde Park Coalition for Equitable Community Development- or their website, to join. - John Murphy at 459-4082 or Pat Wilcoxen at 643-7495.

July 10, Tuesday, 12 pm. This year PUSH will open its annual conference on July 10, 2012 at noon at the Rainbow-PUSH Headquarters with a focus on poverty and its impact on our communities by hosting a National Poverty Summit. The Summit will be held at PUSH’s Headquarters (930 E. 50th Street, Chicago, IL). Purpose is to develop a year-one plan of action. Please RSVP to:, or call (773)256-2731.


Our ability to end homelessness rests upon the degree to which we are able to wed the efforts of the homeless service delivery system to those of other mainstream programs and systems of care – programs and systems whose failures have contributed to its growth.” Chicago Continuum of Care, Manual.

"Redeveloping the South Side is the 'mother of all interdisciplinary problems'." Don Michael Randel, President, The University of Chicago, 2004

"The poor face wretched housing choices while investors profit"- Chicago Tribune headline, late November, 2004.

2011. More SRO's are closing partly due to their deterioration and code violations. This reduces the amount of housing of last resort, last barrier to homelessness. However, many think it is smarter and a better long-range solution to put monies into newer "supportive housing" which puts people in proximity to the services they need, supported by a mix of city, state, and federal housing progams and philanthropic funds. Renters pay about 30 percent of income.
Note that many especially with disabilities cannot afford a deposit plus one month's rent. Lumped with this, despite a recent major agreement signed by the Governor in conjunction with new state laws enabling people to move out of nursing homes to community based care, the hesitancy or refusal of many or most of the premium healthcare providers to sign up for the new Medicare program seems to be greatly disrupting the ability of many to keep their caregivers and services, in turn snowballing into housing problems.

Editor's note: we need to examine more closely barriers to affordable housing such as reported inadequacies and even breakdown in Section 8 and Class 9.

The matter is enormously complicated and about to become enormously more prevalent, according to panelists at a forum January 31, 2009. A coalition recently gave the city an "F" on affordable housing-- fair or not?

See how neighbors said they want affordability at the HPKCC public discussion on the neighborhood, October 2005. Below. Next public discussion April 29- see below. See pre-forum article. See a paper on using Harper Court and adjacent redevelopment to help people stay in the community--in Harper Court Papers. There is a new definition and index of affordability from the Brookings Institution:

The Chicago Commission on Human Relations has published a report, "The Differential Impact of Gentrification on Communities in Chicago."

A 2006 conference concluded the city and its many partners are starting to get a grip (or is it just grasp?) on the homeless problem, but there is still far too little permanent housing, not enough of the right kind of permanent housing, and not enough supportive services. the three core principles of the plan are Prevention, Housing First, and Wrap-around Services. There is too little funding and too many on the brink of homelessness are spending for to much of what they have or earn on housing. A new assessment system is designed to better judge the demand for funds.

And now the sub-prime lending bust threatens more people with losing their homes and squeezed construction of new homes period. Streetwise reports that Chicago has received this year the usual nearly $45 million in annual federal funds for homeless assistance and almost 3.7 million extra from emergency shelter grants program as of February 2007. Funds including Continuum of Care have been consolidated. Much goes directly to providers headed by Catholic Charities, Residents of Effective Shelter Transitions, Inner Voice, Heartland, Thresholds, Chicago House, Single Room Housing Assistance Corp. New projects include Roseland Christian Health Ministries, Brand New Beginings , Near West Side Development Corp...


Meetings, organizational links, quick notes


Local flavors - Annual "Taste of Hyde Park" helps homeless. Herald, March 9, 2011. By Daschell M. Phillips

The Hyde Park Transitional Housing Project will hold its sixth annual "Taste of Hyde Park" benefit to raise money for families in need of temporary housing. "The Taste of Hyde Park," which was inspire by an idea from Hyde Park Transitional Project board member Rita Glass, will take place from 5 p.m. (6?) to 8 p.m. Saturday, March 12, at St. Thomas the Apostle School, 546y7 S. Woodlawn Ave. The event will feature a buffet dinner provided by many Hyde Park restaurants, a silent auction and music by jazz pianist Willie Pickens. the donation is $35, $25 for students and $15 for children 6-17, with 5 and under free.

[HPTHP] provides housing and mentoring services to homeless families for up to two years, helping them to achieve independent living. Depending on the amount of funding the program can raise each year, the [HPTHP] can support between two to four families each two-year period.

Volunteer mentors, supported by a case manager, meet weekly with client families to provide ongoing support with budgeting, goal setting and other family needs. Professional services may be provided as the mentors working with the families determine the needs of the client.

Hyde Park Transitional Housing Project (HPTHP) (to alleviate homelessness). For meeting information contact Anne Holcomb, case manager. Check. Report and contacts. More.
No longer associated with University Church. A contact number will be set up. MEETS 3RD MONDAY EVENINGS AT AUGUSTANA LUTHERAN.
Director or president- in search mode. TO BE UPDATED- VISIT IN NONPROFITS.
/hydepark/transitionalhousing/ Download brochure.
quarterly brochure is available.
Helps families become self sustaining in mentored settings. Volunteers needed and trained.

2 groups seeking to organize tenants in Woodlawn and seek a place for current residents is STOP (Student/Tenant Organizing Project) and Angels of Def. Find links in Community Resources and Woodlawn News. Services are provided by Giving Tree and several pantries.

Chicago Rehab Network has published an Affordable Housing Fact Book: Valuing Affordability. $100 in print, CD-RDom and online interactive with regular updates. 312 663-3936 or

Housing coalition:

Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation has grants to rehab bungalows and make them energy efficient.

Housing Illinois Coalition (40 orgs) is in Phase III of getting out materials to change the discourse for affordable housing. 312 663-3936 or for info.

Lakefront Affordable Housing (Helmut Jahn, Richard Driehaus)

Metropolitan Planning Council. Contact them to get a CD video to show on welcoming affordable housing into your community.

Rehab Network, Attainable Housing Alliance.


The Chicago Tribune of Sunday November 21, 2004, began a series with its main headline: "Poor suffer wretched housing choice while investors reap profits."

The legislature was considering a law making it illegal for landlords to refuse to rent on the basis of "source of income", i.e. Section 8. We are unsure it passed. The city has increased funds for affordable and transitional housing.


Hyde Park neighbors supported affordability as a neighborhood goal and character at an October 2005 HPKCC public discussion on the neighborhood, :"What's Right/Wrong with Hyde Park?". (Since there have been several forums and the Coalition for Equitable Community Development has been formed).


· Table 2 Character
· Table 3 Character
· Table 5 Variety of housing

· Table 1 Retention of businesses
· Table 2 Commercial development (hotel, movie theater, notions-on appropriate streets
· Table 3 Entertainment for older children and adults
· Table 3 More Affordable Housing
· Table 3 Variety of stores
· Table 4 Improve poor management of public space….cleaner business district
· Table 4 Lack of business incentives
· Table 5 More small businesses
Conference should:
· Table 5 Have more development/preservation forums

Individual comments-other issues not presented
· Stronger emphasis on affordable housing and displacement of poor
· Affordability
· Affordable Housing
· Landlord and home owners should receive breaks on water bills
· Combating odious (onerous?) ordinances for high rises (unwarranted masonry inspection soon after major construction).

DENSITY (5 of 6- Noise is a quality issue)
· Too much density
· Continue to fight for low-rise zoning—Our community doesn’t need to be a south side Sheridan Road
· Keep “Doctor’s Hospital” (and low density—no high rise).
· HP must decide how much density this community can absorb w/o undergoing major personality change—very important and imminent decision(s) for very near future
· Entertainment for adults 25+
· More variety of restaurants


Pre- April 29 local affordability forum article. Definitions please!!!

[Note: the Conference after the October 2005 HPKCC-led What's Right, What's Wrong... forum, and concurrently many in the community interested in the affordability issue, discerned a strong interest but discernable fuzziness and lack of definition about affordability and what the issues are in our neighborhood. Born of this is what may be the first of several forum/workshops, and opportunity to introduce ongoing and future projects. The following March 22 Herald article, we hope, will be the start of an investigative and dialogue series on the Herald's part also.]

No mincing words on affordable housing. Hyde Park Herald March 22, 2006. By Erin Meyer

As housing costs continue to rise in Hyde Park, the question of what constitutes affordable housing and who is eligible becomes relevant to more people. But homeowners, potential homebuyers and renters often find the rhetoric about affordable housing difficult to digest. "Affordable housing means different things to different people," said John G. Marowski, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Housing. Everyone is talking about fair hosing but they are not all saying the same thing.

The newly formed Hyde Park Housing Community Action Coalition will host a forum on April 29 entitled "The Changing Nature of Our Community: Can You Afford to Live Here?" to help neighbors understand who is eligible and how the lack of affordable housing impacts local culture. "One of the problems is the way in which the bureaucratic definitions of affordable fail to address populations in need," South Sider John Murphy, a coalition organizer said.

The coalition uses the word affordable to describe housing accessible to individuals and families who have minimal income. "The people we are talking about have jobs. Some make minimum wage and so cannot afford housing," Murphy said.

The groups and individuals working to preserve or develop affordable housing in the community apply different definitions of affordable to determine who receives assistance. Ald. Toni Preckwinkle(4gh) proposed a city-wide ordinance that would have required private developers to set set-aside 15 percent of units in new construction as affordable. The ordinance failed to pass city council more than once. Still, Preckwinkle is working to hold developers in the 4th ward to the requirements set out by the proposed ordinance.

Some of the developments to which Preckwinkle gives the nod include units affordable to families making less than 89 percent of area median income (AMI), or below $58,000 per year. Others are only affordable to households making 120 per cent of AMI. "It changes from project [to project]," Preckwinkle said. "It just depends on the deal."

Markets dictate that developers maximize profit. So many of the units private developers allocate as affordable fall in the upper end of the AMI Spectrum, making them affordable to families earning $75,400 or more per year.

Fair housing advocates from the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization contend that the Mid-South Side is facing a shortage of low-income and affordable housing.

The ongoing boom in development and increased land costs exacerbate the problem, particularly in Bronzeville. KOCO recently conducted a study to determine how much affordable housing has been created in the last 15 years. The study found that the cost of housing far exceeds the income levels of residents living in the Kenwood and Oakland neighborhoods. "The people we are talking about are working families making between $26,000 and $45,000 per household and low-income people making between $12,000 and $25,000 per household," said KOCO housing organizer Karen colbert.

The research revealed that 40 to 40 percent of households in Kenwood and Oakland fall in the low-income category. "The issue is there is still a serious need. we have a lot of low income families," Colbert said.

In 2005, the 4th Ward--of which Kenwood and Oakland are a part--saw 458 new units created through housing programs administered by the Department of Housing. Colbert said KOCO hopes the number of affordable units and new homeowner opportunities for working families will increase. [ed. questions. What were the total number of units, what was the proportion formed by the 458, what did the latter sell for on average, and what percentage relative to AMI could afford at least that average cost? How many other comparably-priced units, if any, were also built in the same area? Could the composite be used to create an affordable-new-units index for North Kenwood-Oakland?]

Condo development also characterizes the rapidly changing housing market in the same area. The vast majority of developments approved in the last 12 months by the North Kenwood Oakland Conservation Community Council include hundreds of condos and only handfuls of rental units. KOCO also hopes to use the data to preserve more affordable housing.

The University of Chicago recently earmarked $1 million to invest in the Community Investment Corporation, a non-profit mortgage lender, to help finance developers who want to rehabilitate multi-family apartments but cannot afford to do so alone. In exchange the developers must keep rents affordable. "The families we are targeting earn less than 55 percent of area median income," said Hank Webber, vice president for community and government affairs at U of C. A family of four earning 55 percent o AMI would bring in approximately $41,470 per year. Officials expect to help preserve 190 affordable rental units in Woodlawn, Washington Park, South Shore, Grand Boulevard, Kenwood, Oakland and Douglas. "It's important to remember that no single institution has the capacity to solve the problem of affordable housing alone," Webber said.

While different people apply the word affordable in different ways, the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), said affordable means only one thing. The agency uses census data to determine the average salary of household in the Chicago area. The median income of a family of four in Chicago is $75,400.

All the rhetoric surrounding the affordable housing debate grows out of this number. The Chicago Department of Housing based prices of t he 125,000 affordable units the agency has created since 1989 on HUD's guideline. "Homeownership programs are generally geared toward households making between 60 and 100 percent of area median income," Markowski said. "And the cost to own is normally under $200,000."

The pricing formula used by the department is based on the idea that 30 percent of monthly income should go toward housing costs. Principal, interest, tax and insurance costs also go into the equation that determines how much affordable housing should cost.

Maximum household income to get affordable housing (owned at under $200,000)

Household Size, Equivalent Percentage of Area Median Income

   100% 80% 60%
1 $52,800 $40,600 $31,700
2 $60,300 $46,400 $36,200
3 $67,900 $52,200 $40,750
4 $75,400 $58,000 $45,250
5 $81,400 $62,650 $48,850
6 $87,500 $67,300 $52,500

April 26 Herald, by Erin Meyer. Affordable housing crunch looms in Hyde Park

Longtime resident Lorie Rosenblum is afraid the rising cost of housing in Hyde Park may force her out of the neighborhood. The 69-yer-old retiree has lived or 14 years in a small, one-bedroom apartment in [a courtyard building in East Hyde Park.} At $650 per month, her rent is manageable. "We lack some amenities here, a doorman, central air conditioning...But I feel very fortunate."...

But Rosenblum will not be able to live out her golden years on Everett Avenue. "My health is good now," she said. "But I am not going to climb three flights of stairs when I am 80." Unfortunately seniors who need assistance have few housing options in the neighborhood. The Montgomery Place Retirement Community Hyde Park's only assisted living residence. Most seniors living on pensions, social security and retirement plans cannot afford Montgomery Place, said Rosenblum,... approximately$4,000 per month. The average price of two-bedro0m condos last year in Hyde Park was greater than $200,000, according to Colfax Realty Group. "Investing in a condo at this point in my life would also be financially unsound," Rosenblum said.

The elderly and those who recently retired are not the only ones negatively impacted by the direction the housing market has taken. With the average one-bedroom attached condo in Hyde Park seeing for more than $135,000 in 2005--up almost $40,00 from 2001--working families an young professionals struggle to buy.

A member of a local chapter of the Older Women's League, Rosenblum hopes to rally the community around the creation of affordable housing [started with a forum on April 29.]...


Commissioner Ellen Sahli on Chicago's Plan to End Homelessness. November 5 2008 Streetwise. [Assuming the statistics are true, is it more than a drop in the bucket-- especially with the fast-rising tide, maybe oncoming tidal wave, from foreclosures and job loss while city revenues and those of nonprofits plummet?]

"Change" is quite the buzzword lately. Chicago's Plan to End Homelessness is no exception. We - the City and its private and public partners - have sought to change Chicago's homeless system from one that is based on temporary fixes to one that is based on long-term solutions. And guess what? We are doing it. And we will continue to move forward, pursuing our aggressive goals to increase resources and improve services despite the economy.

While we have made tremendous strides in directing new resources to prevention and permanent housing, we are not yet at our final goal. Before the Plan began in 2003, less than 3,000 households received homelessness prevention assistance. In each of the past six years we have more than doubled that assistance, to 7,100 households. Before the Plan we had 3,600 units of homeless-dedicated permanent housing. At the end of 2008 we will have over 6,000 units. We also documented a 12% decrease in homelessness between 2007 and 2007 - most notably with a 24% decrease in the number of homeless families.

We have been able to make these consistent strides because of the broad, diverse and committed community of partners working to achieve our goals here in Chicago. Hundreds of nonprofit agencies serving the homeless, multiple government agencies, and people who have accessed homeless services, work together daily to implement the changes required by the Plan to End Homelessness.

But we cannot do it alone. We need your help. Get involved - work with the board of a homeless service or housing agency; donate to organizations that offer services that support long-term solutions; volunteer to beautify a shelter; tutor homeless children to keep them on track; encourage your religious institution to coordinate with others to extend the impact of your effort; or volunteers to participate in the 2009 Homeless Count.

There are many ways to help and we all have a part to play. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to provide leadership on this effort for the City. I am confident that moving forward, we will achieve the change we seek. Top


Metropolitan Planning Council writes:

On Monday, Jan. 24, 2005 the Governor’s Office issued an advance release of Illinois’ first comprehensive housing plan, "Building for Success: Illinois’ Comprehensive Housing Plan," wrapping up the first year’s work of the Affordable Housing Task Force. Building on Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s September 2003 "Executive Order to Establish Comprehensive Housing Initiative," the plan kicks-off a multi-year agenda to promote affordability and choice for all Illinois households, create and preserve the state’s supply of affordable and workforce housing, and engage more local and state leaders in advancing housing solutions. It provides an over-arching message on the value of affordable and workforce housing to communities throughout Illinois, as well as detailed assignments, timelines, and accountability mechanisms for a variety of state departments and other key stakeholders. MPC is particularly encouraged by the plan’s focus on incentives for municipal and business leaders. Click here for MPC’s analysis of the report. Click here to download the full report from the Web site of the Illinois Housing Development Authority.

If you are having trouble opening the Web site links listed above, please copy and paste the URLs into your browser:

Governor’s Office press release:

Affordable Housing Task Force:

MPC’s analysis of “Building Success”:

Illinois Housing Development Authority:

To become a member of MPC and support their work, go to and click on "Become a Member" under the MPC logo.

The Metropolitan Planning Council offers the following priorities in housing:


Alderman Hairston on Crime and the CHA and relationship to recent outbreaks. Lack of resources, both service and police

Alderman's Report, Hyde Park Herald, November 9, 2005

I know that many Hyde Parkers were shaken by last week's report of a string of violent armed robberies that occurred in the past month. Coming on the heels of last spring's [2005] rash of assaults, these latest events have had an unsettling effect on our neighborhood.

However, while I was also caught off guard by the assaults, I cannot say that I was surprised by the news. The events in Hyde Park reflect a trend that was widely predicted and is now playing out in communities across the South Side as an unintended consequence of the Chicago Housing Authority's Plan for Transformation.

Many of he communities that have received the highest concentrations of relocated CHA residents have also seen significant increases in crime. The 3rd District, which includes portions of the University of Chicago campus and Jackson Park, serves communities that have seen some of the highest concentrations of relocated former CHA residents. As of August, the 3rd District was one of only four districts in the city that saw index crime increase over the summer. Furthermore, the total increase of crime in the 3rd District was greater than the increases in those other districts combined.

And even closer to home, Hyde Park, which is in the 21st District, has seen a dramatic increase in shootings, murders and violence along Cottage Grove, Maryland and Drexel Avenues. By September, The 21st District had seen a 6.7 increase in violent crime over last year.

The Hyde Park Herald attributed some of these crimes to gangs that have been forced out of the CHA and are now fighting to establish a beachhead in the neighborhood. These fights have become vicious because rival gangs are fighting for the ability to sell narcotics instead of just turf. [Note- these fights did abate in 2006.]

Since 1999, the Chicago Housing Authority has been engaged in its Plan for Transformation, a laudable $1.6 billion effort to tear down its infamous high rises and replace them with mixed-income developments. Great care has been given to ensure these new developments will work.

Located on the prime real estate along Lake Park Avenue, King Drive, Cottage Grove Avenue and State Street, the new developments will have market rate, affordable and public housing units and will be competitive with other new construction units in the area.

Some of the residents who were relocated out of public housing will be able to move back into the new developments, but to do so they will have to met strict requirements. Those residents who are allowed to move back into the new CHA developments will truly be the sort of neighbors we would all like to have.

But what will happen with the rest of the the the former CHA residents? The CHA demolished most of its high rises long before it began to build any new units. The residents of those high rises were relocated into the neighborhoods where they will likely stay. Furthermore, the only former residents who will have a right to return to public housing will be those who held leases up until the start of the plan in 1999.

Those residents who left public housing before relocation began--a group that represents the majority of former public housing residents-have no right to return. Having been forced out of public housing by the gangs, drugs and neglect that made life t here untenable, they will not have the opportunity to return now that the CHA is working to get things right.

Moreover, while the development portion of the plan has been carefully crafted, other aspects have hot received such full consideration. Though one of the goals of the plan has ostensibly been to rectify many of the acute social issues associated with the deterioration of public housing in Chicago, tools have not been developed to achieve that goal.

The Service Connector is the social service arm of the Plan for Transformation. It is intended to connect former CHA residents with the resources they need to achieve self-sufficiency. The problem is that the program was never fully funded. Service Connector caseworkers maintain a caseload of 55 to 1, while the optimal caseload is 35-1.

As late as 2003, its caseload had been as high as 500 families for every caseworker. Though the Service Connector will work with any resident who walks through the door, it is only responsible for those residents who left during the Pan for Transformation. In South Shore, although the Service Connector is funded to serve about 700 families, nearly 2,900 families have moved into the community using CHA Housing Choice Vouchers.

Participation in the program is strictly voluntary. Former residents are not required to work toward self-sufficiency. As such, many residents only utilize the Service Connector program for crisis management. Residents seek assistance in dealing with problems that arise in th short term, not as part of a strategy to permanently rise above subsistence.

The 10-year Plan for Transformation is currently in its sixth year. To date, there are no provisions to maintain the Service Connector prog dram beyond 2009. After that time the only people who will be CHA residents will be the few who are allowed to move back into the new mixed-income developments. The rest will no longer be the responsibility of the Chicago Housing Authority; they will simply be residents in whatever communities they find themselves living.

Furthermore, while the Plan for Transformation--and the exodus from public housing that immediately preceded it--represented an unprecedented demographic shift both within the city and in surrounding counties, city resources have not been reallocated to reflect the shift. A glaring example of this can be seen in the reallocation of police resources following the disbandment of the Chicago Police Department's Public Housing Units.

Last fall, when the Public Housing Units were dissolved, most of the officers remained in the same districts, even though a significant percentage of the population was relocated to other areas. In a letter to Superintendent Cline dated Oct. 15, 2004, I stated:

"There were issues in our former public housing developments that were serious enough to require police sub-stations to be located within many of the high-rises. It is naive and irresponsible to conclude that because the geography has changed the same problems that existed in public housing would not persist on our streets. These issues have not miraculously disappeared with the demolition of the buildings, they have simply moved, along with the residents, out into my neighborhoods. The only difference is the police are not following them."

More importantly, this lack of resources is having a destabilizing effect on communities across the South Side. while Chicago police are quick to point out that index crime is at record lows in the city, non-index crime in the city is on the rise.

Index crimes fall into two categories: violent crime and property crime. The Chicago Police Department reports these numbers to the Federal Bureau of Investigation to track the general trends in crime because of their seriousness and frequency. But non-index crimes--crimes like prostitution and vandalism--erode the quality of life in a neighborhood.

Even more disturbing, is that narcotics activity accounted for more than a third of all arrests made in the city of Chicago last year. While not an index crime itself, narcotics activity produces index crime through violence associated with the drug trade.

The issue is a growing concern. Since I took office in 1999, I have demanded that the Chicago police and other city departments allocated additional resources to support the needs of relocated former CHA residents in the communities of my ward. My efforts so far have met with little success. Let me assure you that I will keep fighting for my ward, however. These issues will not go away by themselves.

Few would disagree with the necessity of demolishing the high rises that were trademark of public housing in Chicago. They were a stain on our city's honor. But now we have to recognize our debt to the families that were consigned for generations to that bad idea. We as a city have to provide them the social services they need to give them a fair chance to move forward.

The families that have moved into our areas are here now and many will likely stay. As a community, we have a responsibility to help integrate these new families into the fabric of our neighborhoods. But the responsibility is not ours alone. We have to demand the resources for which our tax dollars pay.

We deserve to have enough police in our neighborhoods to keep us safe. It is a reasonable expectation that all communities should have.


Alderman Hairston has been working for a strong law on slum landlords. The bill hastily passed in fall 2005 by City Council does not address barring landlords with substantial violations from receiving city funds/doing business with the city. This may yet come up and be passed. The city ordinance on the other hand has draconian seizure and provisions, with that decision being administrative rather than in the courts--it could be unconstitutional and makes it harder to deal with landlords, Ald. Hairston argues.

The April 21 2006 Tribune reports on CHA crackdown on landlords, more attention to needs of Section 8 voucher holders. In preceding 18 months CHA cut off payment 20,000 times an took 1,000 units out of the program, due to failure to fix lead, plumbing and other slum conditions, landlords' back taxes, too many buildings on the block boarded up, drug and gang activity in evidence, or the block is too saturated with Section 8. They are also cracking down on problem tenants. Some community activists and landlord groups say CHA has gone too far because the CHA guaranteed (and often above market rate) rent is needed to pay for fix ups that cumulatively turn neighborhoods around. On the other hand, Ald. Hairston says CHA is heading in the right direction but needs enforcement and follow up.

But a more favorable assessment of the CHA transformation and its effects on people

New day, new deal at CHA
Amazingly, something historic is happening for families living in public housing

By John McCarron who writes
consults and teaches on urban affairs

January 13, 2006

There was a time--and not long ago--when a beat-up Oldsmobile abandoned curbside on the 4100 block of South Drexel Boulevard would have gone unnoticed for weeks, if not months.

But Terry Peterson was having none of it.

"Call Streets and get it towed," he snapped to Carl Byrd, one of his lieutenants from the Chicago Housing Authority. "That wreck was here Saturday. Should have been towed Monday."

I covered CHA back in the '70s, when the huge public housing agency was in physical and psychological free-fall. The guy who ran it then, the late Charles Swibel, gets too much of the blame when the bad old days are recalled. Other forces were at work besides bad management--an epidemic of gangs, drugs and guns and dumb federal rules favoring unwed mothers over working families.

About one thing, however, I am sure: Swibel, who lived in Winnetka and looked out for union janitors, did not spend a lot of weekends on the South Side, taking note of abandoned cars while inspecting CHA buildings.

That's what most impresses about Terry Peterson, the former Chicago alderman now in his sixth year as chief executive officer of a very different CHA. It's not so much the mind-boggling scale of the Plan for Transformation he is overseeing, although 2006 will be the year Chicagoans fully appreciate what's happening. The family high-rises are all but gone, replaced seemingly overnight by prim townhouse-style developments where poor renters live side-by-side with well-off condo owners.

No, what really grabs is Peterson's grind-it-out energy, his manic attention to detail and his dogged refusal to let things--things like abandoned cars--just slide.

"It's not good enough to `just do your best,'" he explained earlier this week, after I accepted his offer to tour some of the new housing ... then made the mistake of suggesting even the best neighborhoods have irritations like abandoned cars. "We've got to keep our commitment to our buyers and our tenants," he said. We've got to enforce the terms of our lease."

Those terms mean welfare families from CHA high-rises are getting a new deal. They're being offered a new or totally rehabbed apartment in an up-and-coming neighborhood, with secure yards and hallways, with gleaming kitchens and baths, with plush wall-to-wall carpet and their own washers and dryers. In return, young mothers must work at least 30 hours a week (or go back to school) and do without addictive drugs, live-in boyfriends, loud music or their kids hanging out in doorways.

By most accounts the big winners of this new deal are the many CHA families who consider themselves well rid of the old projects, where a law-abiding majority lived in constant fear of the gangsters and addicts.

There are other, less favorable accounts, to be sure. Critics accurately point out that the Plan for Transformation is downsizing CHA to roughly 25,000 apartments from the 40,000 that existed when the program started in 1999. That's a big net loss, though conditions had deteriorated to the point that many high-rises were half empty. A sizeable number of high-rise tenants, moreover, opted for rent vouchers so they could move to privately owned apartments. Indeed, some neighborhoods--and suburbs--have complained that CHA is exporting, not curing, its problems.

There's no denying, too, that the agency was slow to provide effective relocation, employment and social services; or that many families, especially those who "squatted" for years without valid leases, simply disappeared through administrative cracks. Some even argue that the social fabric of the high-rises--the kinships and circles of mutual support vital to poor families--are unlikely to be replaced in "fishbowl" circumstances among yuppie condo buyers.

Even Peterson admits mistakes were made. Now past the halfway mark of the 10-year, $1.6 billion federally funded build-out, he concedes: "We've got a long way to go. We're not over the hump."

Still, as we drove from new development to new development, as we inspected the glass shower stalls and the hardwood kitchen cabinets at places like Jazz on the Boulevard at 4100 S. Drexel Blvd., I couldn't help but think that something historic is happening here. The last of the family high-rises are coming down. Sales and lease-ups of the new units are ahead of schedule. The city, the Chicago Park District and the Board of Education are chiming in with new streets, parks and schools, including charter academies backed by corporations, foundations and universities.

Several years ago I wrote a column saying Mayor Richard M. Daley was unwise to take control of the CHA, unwise to think he could turn around the nation's worst public housing. Too risky, I argued, what with the political uncertainty of federal funding and the difficulty of rebuilding fractured lives.

I was wrong. It was the right thing to do. It was the moral thing to do. There's a lot of negativity at City Hall these days. Federal investigations. Taped conversations. Hired trucks. So much negativity that Daley probably won't get the credit he deserves for remaking CHA ... or bringing in Terry Peterson to get it done.

UC leveraging housing money to affordable rehab in surrounding neighborhoods

Hank Webber is quoted as asking, what was the one thing the University could do that would most help get preservation and rehabilitation of affordable housing going, and was told it was to lower the equity/down payment that homeowners, organizations and developers have to bring to the table. This collaboration is largely intended to do just that. "People are being priced out of the market. There are also concerns about gentrification and long-term residents being pushed out of these neighborhoods," Webber told the April 4, 2006 Maroon. How this works is that the owner provides 10 percent, the University loans 10 percent and the Community Investment Corporation loans 80 percent, hence the chance to preserve about 190 units of affordable rental housing. This may not seem like much, but it sets an expectation or tone and relieves a lot of pressure. It helps break the assumption that the only options in these neighborhoods are condo conversion or demolition- after which few rental units are built. It also helps preserve good buildings. Webber reiterated that the University will not own the buildings and the program is not biased in favor of University staff.

Webber said, "The strongest communities are the most diverse communities and the University can take actions to preserve or create diverse communities that will be in everybody's interests. I think they'll become safer neighborhoods over time." Webber noted, "We can play our part, but the complete solution to the problem is going to require a much greater public-sector involvement."

John Pritscher of Community Investment Corporation says, "If you don't [live in a safe community], then it's very difficult for children to be properly educated, it's hard for a student to learn, hard to be healthy, hard to prepare yourself for a job. Basically, having a good place to live is a basis for everything else...."

From the March 16 Chronicle:

The University is making available $1.5 million in loans and grants to social service organizations in an effort to improve housing and quality of life for residents living in its surrounding neighborhoods. By combining a $1 million loan program with $9 million from a major Chicago not-for-profit leader, the Community Investment Corporation, the University has helped to create a new $10 million program to promote th availability of affordable housing in Woodlawn, Washington Park, South Shore and the Quad Communities of Grand Boulevard, Kenwood, Oakland and Douglas

The new program will provide financial assistance by lending to developers and owners interested in rehabilitating existing multifamily homes. The goal of the program is to preserve affordable rental housing that is currently at risk of being torn down or converted into condominiums.

To be approved for a loan in this program, owners need to provide only 10 percent of the property's appraised value, instead of the 20 percent required by most banks. Because of the University's investment, the Community Investment Corporation was able to create the new program, which offers loans that most financial institutions would deem risky because they are provided with no interest charge.

"The University is committed to the development and sustainability of vibrant, mixed income, diverse communities on the mid-South Side of Chicago," said Hank Webber, the University's Vice President for Community and Government Affairs. "Ten years ago the challenge was to prove that market rate housing could be successful on the South Side. Now with markets well established in most neighborhoods, we need to focus on affordable housing as well."

In addition to the loan, the University is also offering $250,000 in grants to the Local Initiatives Support Corporation for quality-of-life projects in Woodlawn, Washington Park, and the Quad Cities Communities, with $100,000 earmarked for projects that support and maintain affordable housing.



Alderman Preckwinkle's set-aside proposed ordinance gets hearing

(Background essay follows)

Hyde Park Herald, February 9, 2005. By Jeremy Adragna.

Supporters of 4th Ward Ald. Toni Preckwinkle's proposed housing set-aside ordinance packed City Council chambers last month after nearly two years of waiting for a hearing. During a monthly meeting of the City Council Housing Committee on Jan. 26 some aldermen praised the controversial legislation while others sought to poke holes in it.

The ordinance would require any developer seeking to build or significantly rehab a Chicago housing development to make 15 percent of its units affordable to low and middle income buyers.

Many aldermen already negotiate with developers for such a concession using bonuses to strike a deal. The legislation would simply formalize the process and make the practice a requirement. Preckwinkle's ordinance would allow developers to choose from a laundry list of bonuses that will keep their investments profitable. The developer may also opt out of adding affordable units by making a payment of $100,000 per unit to a city fund, which subsidizes other developments for low-income residents.

But some Housing Committee members questioned the legality of some o the bonuses, like parking offsets. Ald. William J.P. Banks (36th) said the parking bonus conflicts with new zoning laws that went into effect at the beginning of this year. "Many of the offsets are clearly illegal," Banks said.

To boot, some aldermen said the prospect of hearing proposals from every single developer and subsequently holding them to a contract to build the affordable units would put an undue strain on the city's already overrun zoning committee.

Housing Committee Chairman Ald. Ray Suarez (31st) pledged during the hearing to hear all sides of the debate including that of the developers who typically do not support the ordinance. "We'll have a vote, but it won't be today," Suarez said. "I think everybody wants to build affordable housing, but I think our current ordinance works well."

Suarez referred to an ordinance passed by Mayor Richard M. Daley in 20003, which puts the requirement only on developers who receive city subsidies. Preckwinkle and other South Side aldermen protested Daley's attempts at remedying Chicago's housing problems and said the ordinance simply did not go far enough to address the problem.

The mayor has not supported the ordinance, yet Preckwinkle teeters on the 50 percent support needed to push the ordinance through City Council. She has a rotating chorus of supporters which has reached as many as 24 aldermen, nearing that half mark.

A large group of aldermen supported Preckwinkle's ordinance at the hearing held last Wednesday, including South Side ald. Madeline Haithcock (2nd) who says she negotiates with every developer to build affordable units. "But as gentrification has proceeded it gets more difficult to get developers to offer affordable units." Haithcock said

Preckwinkle drew up the ordinance in late 2002 ut has yet to gain support of the mayor and some other high-ranking aldermen who have opposed the ordinance for possibly hampering development. During the development boom underway around the city, the number of units which could have been built if Preckwinkle's plan had already been adopted in the past two years would have been 7,000 units, Preckwinkle's research showed.


Affordable housing bill may see council support

Alderman Preckwinkle, who in May 2004 introduced a revised ordinance for 15 percent middle-income affordable set-aside in new developments, has garnered wide council support and next talks to committee chair Ray Suarez about hearings in the fall. The Balanced Development Coalition, citing effectiveness of such ordinances elsewhere, has joined Chicago Rehab network in supporting Preckwinkle's ordinance. BDC consists of development watchdog groups, unions, and 17 community groups including one in HP (Open Communities?). Spokesperson is Jane Knoy, who stresses this ordinance as a way of helping those who stuck out lean times and pioneers/stabilizers in redeveloping neighborhoods stay there.

Hyde Park Herald, June 9, 2004. By Jeremy Adragna

Aldermen who had once chided 4th Ward Ald. Toni Preckwinkle's efforts to mandate any developer putting up housing to include a portion as affordable to low-income families are now signing up to give the ordinance another chance.

After more than a year wallowing in committee, a housing ordinance introduced by Preckwinkle in late 2002 could see the light of day.

Preckwinkle introduced a revised version of the ordinance to City Council May 6, which had once been shot down by several aldermen as stymieing new development. Far North Side Ald. Bernard Stone (50th) said in 2003 that the ordinance would chase away developers and "kill the market."

Preckwinkle now includes Stone along with influential Ald. Richard Mell (33rd), freshman Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) and Ald. Shirley Coleman (16th) among the newest on a list of 24 alderman supporting the ordinance.

"There is a terrible shortage of affordable housing in the city of Chicago for working families," Preckwinkle said.

The newly revised version requires developers to include 15 percent of affordable units. When first introduced in December 2002, the requirement was 25 percent.

The ordinance went up against a similar, less restrictive ordinance pushed by Mayor Richard M. Daley in 2002 and lost. South Side aldermen protested the mayor's ordinance for not adequately addressing housing needs for low-income families. Since then Preckwinkle says she has worked to find a percentage other city officials were comfortable with supporting.

"There was resistance for 25 percent being too high," Preckwinkle said this week. "My view is, something is better than nothing. And at the moment we have nothing."

The ordinance would require any substantial rehabilitation, condo conversions or new construction of 10 units and above to include 15 percent of units affordable to families earning 50 percent of the Area Median Income--$68,700 according to HUD. For-sale units would be required to be at or below 80 percent of that number.

The set-aside would be mandatory city-wide for developers but also includes incentives for them to comply to the ordinance. The incentives include density bonuses, reducing parking requirements and building setback leniency.

Developers may also sidestep the set-aside requirement by paying $100,000 per affordable unit to the Chicago Low Income Housing Trust Fund, a provision included in the Mayor's earlier ordinance that was called a "loophole" by Bronzeville Ald. Dorothy Tillman (3rd) for the city to build outside some low-income wards.

Preckwinkle has had the support of the Chicago Rehab Network, which monitors housing needs. Executive Director Kevin Jackson says Preckwinkle's ordinance puts some housing needs in the hands of private developers who drive the market.

"With the miss-match of income levels in Chicago and what's affordable, we need to make some parity for affordable housing for those at lower income levels," Jackson said.

In order for a family to afford a two bedroom apartment in Chicago, they must make at least $18.29 per hour--if they pay the normal 35 percent of yearly income, according to statistics released in 2003 by the National Low Housing Coalition.

The city Housing and Real Estate Committee, headed by Ald. Ray Suarez (31st) is next to hear Preckwinkle's ordinance.


Legislative update: passed and failed

Introduced in the veto session and to come up in 2005: Senate Bill 520 (form. House 1040), which would be the largest state-funded affordable housing rental assistance program in the country. It would make rent affordable for households earning 30 percent or below area median income ($19,000) by giving grants to landlords to charge lower rents. It would be funded through a state surcharge of $10 or $11 depending on version on real estate documents recorded with the county recorder of deeds. $34 million would create 5,500 units each year for families that earn less and 30 percent of the area median income- $22,600 for a family of fur in Chicago. It's supported by the Cook County Board, Mayor Daley and the Illinois Assn. of Realtors. The House has passed it in 2004, the Senate was to pass it April 7, 2005..

Passed: Amendment to Affordable Housing Planning and Appeal Act SB2724. (Board for appeals from local decisions alleged to discriminate against affordable developments; extends time limit to complete affordable housing plans.

Passed: Federally Assisted Housing Preservation Act SB2329. Owner of fed. assis'd housing must give 12 mo. notice of intent to sell, dispose etc.; Tenant's assn has 90 days to notify of intent to buy, can have agents.

Failed: Source of Income protection extension to housing voucher tenants (Section 8) with qualifiers. Will come up in veto session.

Failed: Rental Housing support program act. (subsidies to landlords who set aside). Blocked by Cook Co. Recorder of Deeds.


Representative Currie's partial thoughts on tax cap, UC and affordability

State Representative Barbara Flynn Currie on March 4 told UC Democrats that gentrification is a charge that's been leveled at the University since Urban Renewal days and hoped the recent property tax cap will accelerate building in North Kenwood and Oakland and hence take the monetary pressure off Hyde Park realty and residents. She cited the University's position as the biggest Medicaid provider and its staff housing initiatives and real estate development as positive benefits.



Homelesness issues

Statistics, counts, realities. From an article in the Feb. 5 Chicago Weekly.

There will always be a gray area in counting-- how many of the "under-housed" should be counted, and how? There is incentive to count all since federal funds are determined by the count.

Total in the 2007 bi-annual count- 5,922. Disputed by advocacy groups.

Unsheltered- 2007 count says 1,576 (18% female, 82% male

Sheltered -2007 says 4,346 (35% female, 65% male)

Where the count says the unshelterd are- half literally on the streets, a third riding the CTA (under increassing pressure), 15-20% Housing Authority grounds, 5% abandoned buildings and about 3% in parks or airports.

Chicago Alliance to End Homelessness says the population did go down over 12 years by 24%. But the number of chronic homeless (disabled or disordered individuals who have been homeless for over a year or 4 times in the preceding 3 years) increased 6%.

In January 2009 there were 90 operational shelters in Chicago and 6,716 units of permanent housing - up 71% since 2003. About 7,000 households also get financial assistance to prevent homelsessness, to the tune of $6 million a year.

Some homeless are "in the community" but lack any power including purchasing - and in the South Side are largely isolated supportless, not living communally or socially.

Requests for support such as food doubled.


See Featherfist- 773 721-7088, Chicago Alliance to End Homelessness- 312 223-9870, 205 W. Wacker #1321, 60606

When TANF (Welfare as we knew it) ended just as CHA began emptying out,

and the steering of Section 8 vouchers decoupled many recipients from close by social services

Contributors to a December 15 article in the Hyde Park Herald by Nykeya Woods connected a dramatic increase in persons needing groceries and food in 2004 from such agencies as Hyde Park and Kenwood Interfaith Council to increased long-term unemployment, the emptying of CHA and the end of the five-year Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF):

"During the Clinton Administration in 1996, TANF was created as a result of the Welfare Reform Law to replace welfare programs such as Aid to Families with Dependent Children, Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training and Emergency Assistance. TANF was intended to provide assistance and work opportunities by granting states the federal funds and flexibility to develop their own welfare programs. Benefits, administrative expenses, and services targeted are covered for these families.

"Recipients of TANF are required to work no later than two years after receiving assistance. Single parents are required to participate in work activities for at least 30 hours per week. Two-parent families must participate in work activities 35 to 55 hours a week.

Families have a five-year limit in TANF and then they are not eligible to receive welfare assistance again. Most of the families who look to [food-providers such as Hyde Park and Kenwood Interfaith Council] have exhausted their TANF benefits.... [Rev. Susan Johnson of Hyde Park Union Church] says, "Once they stop receiving TANF, because they may not [have had a job], they have nothing. There is no welfare for them again for the rest of their lives..."

Chicago Housing Choice Voucher Program Claims to be the most complete and accurate source of information on the Chicago Housing Choice Voucher Program: how the program works, benefits, upcoming workshops and seminars, properties for rent-on-line, downloadable resource materials, links to training, property and affordable housing resources, more.


Think nothing can be done about homelessness and panhandling? San Francisco has a program that ought to be looked at, even though results are mixed to date.

San Francisco's Mayor Gavin Newsom put into effect in early 2004 a program that has effectively taken panhandlers off the main thoroughfares by cutting benefits from $410 to $59 and substituting shelters and housing help, medical help and drug rehab. Hundreds of volunteers were engaged. Drawbacks include bulky applications and interviews for the shelters and that some have moved to other parts of town, including many of the most chronic-dysfunctional, and insufficient rooms to house all who have been living on the streets. The Mayor says, give us time.


Homelessness is not a condition all can easily avoid in America- A Hyde Park story

Chicago Maroon, June 2, 2006, by Julien Appignani

....Mike's been living in Hyde Park for six years. He's spent lots of nights in the gazebo on 55th Street; now and again he's put up at a shelter downtown. In winter the gazebo must be freezing, and then even the shelter's no shelter.... Mike's one of Hyde Park's homeless. He grew up on the South Side, in Jackson Park, He was an only child. His father died in '90; his mother passed away in a nursing home three months ago....

All in all, it seems that Mike loved his parents; that things were all right for him growing up, that the reason he's homeless is anything but clear, and that the fact that he's homeless has been anything but inevitable. ...He'd been living in Hyde Park, working in sales and customer service for Market U.S.A when, in '93, he contracted H.I.V. In November of that year, he left Hyde Park, moving into subsidized housing in Oak Park. He worked for another eight years, struggling to pay the medical bills and to keep working despite how sick he was. In 2001 he got laid off for missing too many hours of work. Since then, he's been on the street.

At a talk last week at the U of C sponsored by the organization The Giving Tree, Sammy, a spokesperson for the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, mentioned that 30 percent of Chicago's homeless have a drug addition. This leaves 70 percent. Some of these might be women who've run away (with or without children); some might be men and women with severe psychological problems--post-traumatic stress disorder, psychosis or schizophrenia.

Mike has no drug addition; he contracted H.I.V. by sex, not a needle. He's neither psychotic nor schizophrenic. In a word, he was never "destined" to become homeless --not any more than anybody else--but he's homeless. He got sick; he got laid of; he couldn't pay the bills. It can happen to anyone.

Eight month ago Mike found out he has diabetes. For the past six weeks, he's been trying to get a place for himself in a transitional living center, Hull House... the application process has been tough. Every trip to Cook County Hospital costs him. Most of the time now, he can't pay for his medication, and so he's sick. Finding a place to go to the bathroom when you're living on the street is bad enough; finding a place to throw up is even worse.

When Mike sees you on the street and says, "Can you help me out,"...he means it. ..he's trying to get money to get to Evanston. ... No one doesn't deserve another chance....



Surprising facts about affordable housing from Chicago Rehab Network

Hyde Park Transitional Housing Project- find updates in their website. See more on contacts in Helpline and Community Organizations (Social and Services).
c/o University Church, 5655 South University Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637.
Call Allan at 773 643-8061, THP website,
President Rev. Celeste Frazier.
Download brochure and quarterly newsletter.
Helps families become self sustaining in mentored housing settings for up to two years. Volunteers needed and trained.

A quarterly brochure is available.

From the autumn, 2004 Transitions newsletter of HPTHP

"We are happy to report that our very first client family, Linda and her daughter, are making good progress towards independence. It's at the halfway point in our two-year program for the family...Linda has just completed her pre- apprenticeship training in a construction trade... Linda's daughter is now four..we haven't been able to provide a speech therapist for her, she speaks much more clearly...Linda and the mentors are working on issues of family relationships and boundary setting.

Melody Geraci, HomeSharing Program Coordinator, Lawyers' Committee for Better Housing, 220 S. State St., Suite 1700, Chicago, IL
60604, Program phone 773 627-8201, Downtown 312 347-7600,

Ending Homelessness

By Nell Whitman

Would you like to end homelessness for one Chicago family? A group of concerned clergy and laity in Hyde Park is working toward that goal by planning to launch a transitional housing initiative in the neighborhood.

Transitional housing is the stage between a homeless shelter and independent living, during which the client works to achieve self-sufficiency. It is designed to bring stability into the life of homeless families and facilitate the transition to permanent housing, with mentoring for a client family for up to two years, with the goal of enabling the family to become independent. We propose to start by sponsoring one family.

Project Sponsorship

This project is being developed by the Hyde Park cluster of Interfaith Open Communities (IOC), a joint effort of Protestants for the Common Good, the Catholic Archdiocese, the Jewish Council of Urban Affairs, and the Council of Islamic Organizations. seven Hyde Park organizations are active in our cluster.

Project's Needs

To meet our objective, we need volunteer mentors to work with the family in formulating and making progress toward goals. Goals may include debt reduction, establishment of good credit, education or job training, and job enhancement. Mentors, who will receive appropriate training, will meet with the family for two or three hours each week, Mentors will provide support in budgeting and in dealing with employers, creditors, schools, and government agencies. We will also need people to do various tasks, like helping with moving, often on a onetime basis.

We also need financial support. We anticipate expenses of $1000 to $1500 per month to cover the cost of rent and utilities for our first family. An individual pledge of $10 per month would cover 1% of this cost, and 100 to 150 such individual contributions could support the program.

Progress Report

We are currently working on raising funds and finding volunteers, and expect to start working with our first family this spring. We are also compiling a roster of individuals who are willing to provide services to the family, as needed.

If you would like to help financially or volunteer, or if you have questions or suggestions, please contact Mark Granfors, 773/363-8712 or 312/988-6540, [contact Mark Granfors].


Can home sharing help ease the housing and affordability crunch?

The Hyde Park cluster of Interfaith Open Communities (IOC) and Lawyers Committee for better Housing think so. And it's in line with existing city programs (Office on Aging's Staying Put Program ) (and programs in other cities) to match up people of moderate means with empty nesters—who have $300,000 and up homes but may want or need help paying taxes and expenses. The groups think it's time for a systematic program here, saying that with minimum $300,000 homes [median actually $181,000] and rents very often averaging over $1000 a month, Hyde Park is not affordable and cannot sustain its goal of being a mixed income community without such a program.

Sam Ackerman, member of IOC and HPKCC, and Will White say: "Many of us are in need of affordable space and quite a few home and apartment dwellers have space they'd like to share."

IOC expects to have a tenant/homeowner match program in place by November and is seeking volunteers for planning and outreach. Call Sam Ackerman, 268-1356.



The following was sent by the Interfaith Cluster.

Homesharing program offers something for those needing homes and those needing someone to share their home with. The Hyde Park Interfaith Cluster is engaged in the program See Ending Homelessness, Organizations-Social, Tracking Community Trends. The following was furnished by the area-wide organizations. Other organizations are doing similar things.

Formed in 1972 to foster fair, affordable, integrated, just welcoming communities in the northern suburbs.

The Homesharing Program assists persons seeking affordable housing by matching them with home providers, primarily older persons, who wish to remain in their homes and communities.

Why Homesharing?
Economics: Homesharing is an alternative to struggling with escalating housing costs or waiting for years for subsidized housing Security: The presence of more than one person in a home can increase the feeling of safety for both the home seeker and the home provider Independence: Through Homesharing, older persons continue to maintain their independence in the community they know and love. Companionship: Potential friendships and mutual assistance are made possible through Homesharing.

Who Uses Our Services?
Homeowners & Apartment Dwellers willing to share their homes in exchange for rent or services.Home seekers who need affordable housing in the northern suburbs of Chicago .Individuals of all ages: retired, widowed, divorced, married, single, students, single parents.

How the Program Works

Because each Homesharing match is unique, our trained staff:
· Interviews and screens both home provider and home seeker.
· Considers your location, lifestyle and schedule.
· Checks references and histories.
· Introduces compatible individuals.
· Is available on an ongoing basis to make sure needs are being met.

This service is free. Donations are welcome.

Interfaith's Homesharing program has been featured in the news media. See Interfaith in the News.

Funds for this program are provided through an award from the Suburban Area Agency on Aging through grants from the Illinois Department on Aging and/or the Administration on Aging, U.S. Department of Health and Human services under Title III of the Older Americans Act. Additional support is provided by Cook County Community Development Block Grants, local townships, foundations, corporate support and people like you.

If you are seeking a Homesharing situation outside of the Chicago area, please consult the National Shared Housing Resource Center.

An arm and a leg: Housing in the city gets more and more costly

Red Streak, July 18, 2003

Housing has become so pricey in the Chicago area that the typical teacher, nurse or police officer likely can't buy an average-priced home on salary alone.

Meanwhile, between 1990 and 2000, there was an 85 percent jump in people in Chicago paying between 35 and 50 percent of their income on housing.

That's according to the Chicago Rehab Network and other researchers in a report that calls for more city funding for affordable housing. The network is gearing up for the city's release of a five-year housing plan this fall.

"Most folks can point to someone who can't buy a home or pay rent," said Rachel Johnston, director of operations for the network, a coalition of affordable housing groups. "It's become a 'regular Joe' kind of Chicago problem."

In the chicago area, the median home price in 2001 was $190,000. In order to afford it, you needed to make about $60,500, according to the National Housing Conference's Center for Housing Policy. But the median teacher's salary was $38,540; for nurses, $33,500.

Interest rates have since dropped, and subsidies and help through the Chicago Public Schools and Police Department and elsewhere have made buying a home easier, but it's still tough.

"I can't afford to live in a nice neighborhood," said Nichole Monroe, 26, a public school teacher and single mom. "If I had a better income, I could make different decisions."

Between 1998 and 2002, the cost of a single-family home has gone up in 63 of 756 Chicago communities. Citywide, prices are up 27 percent, according to the Chicago Association of REALTORS. For condos, townhomes and lofts, it's gone up 60 percent.

"There is tons of affordable housing on the South, West and Southwest sides," said Mary Fran Riley of Neighborhood Housing Services. The problem, she said, is uneven development patterns. For example, 52,000 units were built in the 1990s, but over half were in eight communities, including Lake View and the Near West Side.

At the same time, rents in 25 areas rose by more than 30 percent, and in seven communities, they rose by 50 percent. This includes hot areas like the Near South and Near West sides. But it also hit across the city, including Hegewisch on the Southeast Side and Archer Heights on the Southwest side.

The city spends $15 million on affordable housing each year, and the network wants an increase to $95 million. To fund it, they suggest a dedicated revenue source, such as real estate transfer taxes.

[The chart accompanying the article says the median home price in Hyde Park is $394,000 on a citywide base of $170,00. Highest is Lincoln Park at $935,000, among the lower is West Garfield Park at $63,000.]

[There are many doing things about this, from helping people qualify and be trained to get and keep a mortgage to alliances to build and subsidize rent in affordable units, example Metropolitan Planning Council with Illinois Housing Development Authority. Partnering organizations include Chicago Partnership for Affordable Housing.]


City answers challenge with 5-year plan. How well will be seen

The city is proud of its record and new five-year plan on the subject, according to Commissioner Markwoski, who participated in a series of talks at the UC Harris School of Public Policy in late 2003. In the plan, revealed earlier in the day at the City Club, $1.9 million is available to build, preserve and assist in develop 48,000 units. The plan was developed with much consultation and hearings over six months. This plan depends heavily on partnering and is but one component in affordability initiatives, including preserving and revitalizing existing "affordable" housing--especially federally-assisted stock, and acquiring vacant single family houses, and financial assistance and counseling for families. The challenges were acknowledged.

Alderman Preckwinkle and others are pressing for a percentage set aside for affordable (relatively) housing in each private development, not just assisted. The City insists this will kill the goose of development. Others are seeking caps on assessments, zoning changes and other methods to level the playing field on built or vacant land. See below for an outline of past redevelopment strategies. Also "Inclusionary Housing Myths" as well as the next article.


Mixed-income housing is a risky business

Ed. This piece has writing that is difficult to read, but is well worth the effort.

To the Herald, December 3, 2003. By Beverly A. Reed

I would like to address an issue which is fast becoming much like the disease, hypertension. Like hypertension, it is insidious, it acts in silence, and when the effect is revealed, the destruction has already occurred. The issue is multi-faceted, like a hexagon, for there are many sides and to me, they are all of equal value in that for all parties involved quality of life can ultimately be affected.

When there is a perceived threat to an individual, family, neighborhood, community, organization or business's quality of life, emotion tends to run high. Add to this a lack of solution-oriented communication; the misperception of mainstream media accounts and the fears and anger of involved parties along with deep-seated, destructive myths and you have the potential for societal implosion.

This issue is housing. The destruction of public housing with a mid-stream transformation plan; the merger of public housing choice voucher holders with private housing choice voucher holders; the opportunity for beleaguered realtors and landlords to receive guaranteed rent during a sluggish economy; the lack of sufficient staff to handle the bureaucracy of a program which morphed nearly overnight; the fears and just concerns of property owners who believe they and their communities will suffer from this unprecedented involuntary migration; families who are expected to embrace change, punitive assistance and potential homelessness while hiding hope that they can be heard and understood individually and, yes, some who don't give a you know what. Did I mention the developers who must tear down, replace and attract both dollars and desire that mixed income really does have a place in a contained environment although it does not seem to be thriving in a gated community not in the entire community as a whole?

...One thought before I close as a wonderful human being who is also a private housing choice voucher holder who has lived in the 3rd, 20th, and now 4th ward and believes we can make this thing work. Let me just suggest to everyone affected and involved: Seek first to understand, be willing to compromise and learn to form your own opinions on your own experiences--both those that happen to you and those that you seek out before you declare your position.


Lawmakers pass affordable housing bill

SB2329 garnered Realty support, unanimously passed the legislature and was signed by the governor. It covers properties where owners used federal low-income housing tax credits, Section 8, or federal interest rate writedowns. Such units must now be kept affordable for 30 years. (33,000 un covered units statewide, 18,000 in Chicago, expire by 2009.) Under the new law, 12 months instead of 6 months notice must be given to let tenants form associations to buy the building as cooperatives or to partner with developers. Such purchases would be at fair, not open, market price and would be entitled to the subsidies so they can be kept affordable.

Both sides (realtors and advocates) wanted to do all possible to keep federal dollars coming since no new money is being appropriated for new construction and the squeeze is on from land purchase and developers, gentrifying or not.


A new wrinkle on the land trust approach

A few years ago at a HPKCC forum on the Future of Woodlawn, people asked why the "land trust/land bank" approach should not be tried on parts of the South Side with substantial stretches of skip-vacant land. Land trust is now a city option especially where new development and property values are on the rise. In January 2006, unveiled in City Council jointly by advocates, community organizations and the city is the idea of a Chicago Community Land Trust (CCLT). Through this, the city would convey vacant land and sometimes unoccupied land with "improvements" to developers who build homes and sell them at reduced rate to low-incomes who meet certain qualifications. The Trust owns the land, the homeowner is just that. The homeowner gets a discount, but can only realize a price according to its set scale should he sell the house. Thereby, not only does the owner have a balance between incentives to sell out and incentives to stay and stabilize the neighborhood, but the home price is kept at under assessed valuation--and hence (more) affordable for generations, presumably past that neighborhood's era of soaring demand and assessments. Chicago would be the first major city to apply the idea and would be careful to avoid clustering the trust in a few parts of the city or to allow land-trusting to prevent re-flation of owners' expected increasing valuation and neighborhood attractiveness. Information: 312 742-8400.


And a new wrinkle on downzoning--Pilsen referendum

Pilsen voters again showed the power of referendum voting, but it the non-binding vote may make no difference in the building of condo units and up sizing in general or gentrification , or if it does could have unintentioned consequences according to experts. Most of Pilsen is zoned for 3-story structures but has 19th century, mostly brick single story structures. 75% of voters in the non-binding vote pushed by the Pilsen Alliance group, which says the vote shows that the community demand a voice in future development and to keep their homes and culture in this port-of-entry community.

Critics say 1) only parts are included so that the pressure will be on some areas, especially on the edges. 2) House prices will go up, speeding gentrification and displacement perhaps even more if the new housing demand has to take up more-spread-out existing housing instead of going into new spot density. 3) Some such as Metropolitan Planning Council think this area close to downtown and transit should have a higher density and take advantage of new construction to make more housing for low and moderate income people.


Some news and thoughts and strategies outlined at the April 9-10 2004 Community Development Conference at U of C

CAPS now is starting a survey of homeless in the parks, starting the evening of March 23. Some parks councils are participating in the count.

The Chicago Rehab Network has many programs and is sponsoring a state Senate bill 2329 (reported out in February) for law changes to enhance the preservation and rehab chances for existing affordable housing.

A major conference was held in April 2004 at U of C on community redevelopment on the south side. It included an historical forum with notables, morning workshops by groups, developers and activists on the front of all aspects of the problem, a major address by the president of the University, and a series of panels on strategies for community redevelopment and using space and architecture in best ways given constraints. An ongoing mechanism for inter community (including helpful partners) discourse is likely to result.

Query- are we overdoing higher density to encourage development--and getting future ghettos for poor and rich alike? See the pro-density article in

Outline of evolving community redevelopment approaches. From the UC April 2004 Community Development Conference.

1920's> cities move from form-based zoning (like downtown mixed-use buildings) to single-use zoning.
1960s response to massive disinvestment, redlining, flight/thinning, and shift to poor mono populations: self-sufficiency and empowerment/home rule models.
1970s and especially 1980s- emergence of community development corporations (CDCs) and asset-based approaches.
mid-1990s- search for comprehensive, encompassing approaches beyond asset-based and (failing) CDCs. Multi-tool, overlapping geographies, broad coalitions and partnerships, financing models, mixed housing, creation of "defensible space" and real, inclusive "information flow".

The conclusion is that the road is tough and requires time and organization, reaching out, marshalling resources and nonphysical structures. There is still no "theory" of community development.

Myths about inclusionary housing. By ?

An inclusionary housing ordinance will discourage or stop development in Chicago.

Fact: Experience from other cities indicates that inclusionary housing ordinance do not slow the pace of developments. Many communities offer cost offsets that provide developers with the flexibility to build more housing than they otherwise would. Indeed, some of the nation's fastest-growing communities like Loudon County...Fairfax County, Virginia; Boston, Massachusetts; and San Diego, California have inclusionary housing policies. An inclusionary housing policy will preserve the affordable housing stock, rather than allowing it to be displaced by new development.

Inclusionary housing is unfair to developers.

Under most inclusionary housing programs, developers receive benefits such as increased zoning flexibility, density bonuses, fee waivers, or reduced parking permits. These "cost offsets" or incentives help the developer to pay for the cost of affordable homes. Inclusionary housing represents a basic change in zoning that communities undertake to address legitimate health, welfare and safety concerns.

Inclusionary housing will harm the local property tax base.

A number of studies from different communities with inclusionary housing ordinances (including very affluent communities like Montgomery County, MD and Fairfax County, VA) show no negative effect on local property tax values or the overall tax base. In fact, inclusionary housing holds the potential to increase the local property tax base above what it otherwise would be. Under an inclusionary housing program, a community will gain new affordable homebuyers that would not have been able to purchase a home otherwise as well as additional market-rate units produced as a result of the incentives or cost offsets (density bonuses for example) provided to the developer.

Inclusionary housing requires a lot of city money.

Administering an inclusionary housing program may require a small outlay of city money. People renting or buying affordable units will, in many cases, qualify for direct subsidies from the city under existing programs like th Chicago Low-Income Housing Trust Fund or City Mortgage; however, the costs of these programs are not directly related to the inclusionary housing policy. In the long run, by creating affordable units for low-income households without public subsidy, an inclusionary housing program will actually save the city money by allowing it to preserve scarce public resources for extremely extremely low-income househ0lds.

The City is already building a lot of affordable housing.

In 2001, the city reported that it sponsored the construction or substantial rehabilitation of about 1,600 apartments affordable to moderate- or low-income families However, the 2000 census revealed that Chicago is short nearly 50,000 apartments for very low income families (those earning less than $20,000 a year, or $9.62 per hour). Plus, tens of thousands of units of existing affordable housing are threatened with conversion or demolition.

In addition--the City could have created far more affordable units in the past five years with an inclusionary housing ordinance. According to an analysis of city permit data, an inclusionary housing ordinance would have created 7,338 units with a 15% set-aside and a 10-unit threshold without a public subsidy.

Aldermen are not hearing from their constituents about affordable housing.

Thousands of people who care about creating more affordable housing in Chicago have gathered, organized, and vocalized their concerns to the City of Chicago over the past five years. In the past years. In the past year, thousands of Chicagoans have visited their alderman, written latters to local newspapers, and held demonstrations and education campaigns about the housing issue. Dozens of aldermen support inclusionary housing in Chicago.

Mixing affordable and market-rate housing will not work.

Developers have been successfully building mixed-income rental, condominium, and cooperative developments in Chicago for decades. Thousands of Chicagoans happily lived in these developments.

Inclusionary housing ordinances are unconstitutional

Only four legal challenges to inclusionary housing ordinances have occurred in the history of their existence, despite over 200 programs nationwide. Inclusionary housing ordinances that include cost offsets for developers and apply across the board to all developments of a certain size have been deemed constitutional.


Hyde Park in the spectrum of Chicago neighborhoods. From Chicago Rehab Network Affordable Housing Fact Book.
This analysis divides Chicago's neighborhood into 7 categories of housing characteristics- Homeowning, Thinning, Tightening, Converting, Filling, Booming, and Bursting. Hyde Park is listed in the "Filling" category, along with South Shore, Logan Square, North Center, and Pullman. Since these are very different from each other, it is necessary to pay attention to what is being compared and clustered. Several characteristics do not appear to apply in Hyde Park to the degree in other examples.

(Kenwood is placed in the "Tightening" category with Oakland (and the near west side) with powerful counter trends such as growing vacancies, disappearing units, and rising infill owner units side by side, so the gross measures may not be a useful description of status and trends for our service area.)

Defining Criteria Vacancies decreasing, rental stock stable
Archetype Hyde Park
Outlier Logan Square
Total Population of cluster 215,000 (7.4% of city), stable (HP c .30,000, stable)
Housing Stock Multifamily, new homeowners and renters
Race/Ethnicity mixed (see below)
Household Income $35,859 (HP about there), increased 10.1 in 1990s

Cluster characteristics

Communities in the Filling Cluster tightened in the 1990s as each experienced a decrease in vacancy rates and a steady demand in housing. Filling communities have a mixed housing stock with a prevalence of large, dense, multi-family courtyard buildings. This housing stock has allowed several communities in the cluster to meet rising demand by placing out of service units on-line. Several communities in this category cover large geographic ares and include pockets of middle-income homeowners. Race and income changes in these communities, however, point to significant rates of displacement, which in some instances have increased dramatically since the 2000 Census. Though poverty rates are decreasing in the Filling cluster, the number of rent-burdened households is on the rise. These communities have significant numbers of assisted housing units, which may be at risk as the markets continue to tighten.


Total 215,007. % immigrant 16.2. Average household size 2.5. % of residents in poverty 19.5 (down 14.3 %). Children with lead poisoning. 12.9.
Race: African American c 40%, Hispanic c 30, White c 26, other c 5. [HP c 40+ white, almost 40 AA, others c 20]
Change in race and ethnicity 1990-2000. White -3.
0, AA + 0.1, Hispanic -4.5

Housing Market 2000

Vacancy rate 6.6%
Rent-burdened 32.1
Housing Stock built since 1990 3,549 units, 3.7%
Overcrowding 7.8%
Number new construction permits 1,599
Demolition permits 1,105
Abandoned buildings 1,782
City owned vacant properties 161
Real change in median rent 17.4+
% of housing in 20- unit buildings 49.8
Total housing units 95,005

Renter c 64%, owner c 28, vacant c 8

Change in units since 1990: Total +2.2
Owner units +10.7
Rental units +3.0
Overcrowded units +0.1
Number of sited units at risk 1,657
Renters burdened by rent 32.1%-12 moderately, 20.1 extremely

Key affordable housing issues for the Filling Cluster

Metropolis 2020, the Metropolitan Planning Council's study of affordability trends in the region.

As distilled by the Tribune, July 26, 2004. Rental pool shrinking, study finds: Group says lack of affordable housing near jobs saps workers, economy

The study shows the Chicago region out of step with the rest of the country. Here home values are up 37% while they have shrunk in most markets 1990-2001. Cook County has lost 5,200 rental units (2,000 net loss in the city in the '90s and gross rental units only increased 8% in Chicago 1970-2000) compared with as high as triple-digit increases in Dallas and nearly 20% in New York. Little affordable housing has followed development of high-job areas--even those with many new working-class jobs. People drive farther and farther to work.

Chicago is a leader in home ownership and this has grown a little. This is important to neighborhood stability and to enticing investment. However, the condo conversion boom has led to a net loss in rentals and affordable housing--and even more in suburbs. There the deck is often stacked against rental building development (including with "impact fees" to "cover and discourage" the costs and problems that come with density, it's perceived, and so developers walk away from rentals since there is little money to be made. Condo conversion incentive will actually increase if interests rates rise. Already in the suburbs 15% of home sales are condo conversions. Thus, the requirement for counties to have plans for 10% affordable housing seem in many cases unattainable.

How do we find balance and coordinated integration of luxury, middle class, and affordable housing, with legislative help if necessary.

In Hyde Park there has been strong disagreement as to how pure (including onsite) provision of affordable housing should be. There have been good cases made in both directions.

An October 23, 2005 feature in the New York Times titled "The Benefits of the Boom" included evidence that incentives that include offsite redevelopment can be win-wins even if a drop in the bucket. New York has two incentives (not stated (much) extra space for a development from developers of affordable housing or buy city-issued certificates from the affordable developers for lower property taxes. therefore, a stronger market means more affordable units. There are rules to encourage mixed income communities.

See also the Chicago Commission on Human Relations study, "Differential Impact of Gentrification on Communities in Chicago."


Shocking facts about the increase in homelessness in 25 years

From Chicago Coalition for the Homeless via Streetwise Nov. 9-15. The document is called "Far From Home: Why-25 Years Later- We are No Closer to Solving the Problem of Homelessness in Chicago," released November 4, 2005.

Homelessness has gone from involving mainly single adult men to involving 40 percent of all families in the U.S. The report cites both structural problems in the economy and failure of government to act.

Structural factors: loss of manufacturing jobs, loss of affordable housing stock, erosion of the safety net, withdrawal of federal support of affordable and public housing, the crack cocaine phenomenon, mandatory sentencing laws.

Manufacturing jobs from 21.7 to 10.3 of Illinois jobs. This is a major block to the less skilled/ educated.
Shelters have been pushed to the city edge (about to be all), partly due to gentrification, and shelters are now considered contributors to permanent dependency.
In 1980 14 percent of rental units were deemed affordable to poorest 20%, down to 7% in 2000.
SRO units went from 53,000 in 1973 to 12,700 in 2005.
TANF has dropped 150,000 families since 1994--43% of those have no work or welfare.
HUD's budget has gone from $86.6b in 1976 to $34.7 (ignoring deflators!!)
HUD c 1980 was creating 260,000 new units a year, now it's none.
Drug-related incarcerations are up 4 times since 1980. Half the homeless men, 1/4/1/3 of women have spent time in jail. The state
substance abuse program serves only 9%

Illinois does now provide youth homelessness services, funds building affordable housing, and emergency and other preventive programs totaling about $100m a year. And there are now 120 youth homeless shelters.

Under 18 15% of homeless in 1990, 40% percent of homeless are families in 2005
1974 1 million single parent families had incomes at half the poverty line, 2.5 million now
Since 1996 15,000 lost Supplemental Security Income in Illinois; 70,000 off Transit. Assist.
Since 1994 150,000 off TANF
1980 minimum wage could support family of 3 above poverty level, now mw = 74% of poverty level
Since 1980, Illinois prison population up 266%, substance abuse facilities meet only 9% of need
Chicago has a good 10-year plan, but CCH says minimal resources are committed, state doing better, feds nothing.


Chicago Coalition for the Homeless faults CPS Ren. 2010 closures for effects on homeless kids, sues.

Hyde Park Herald, January 18, 2006. By Erin Meyer

Too many homeless children are bing forced to change schools too often, according to the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH). With Chicago Public Schools poised to announce the next set of schools slated for closure under Renaissance 2010, CCH appeared in court Jan. 10 vis-a-vis the Chicago Board of Education charging that the school closing policy violates the rights of homeless children. "As Ren 2010 moves forward, this policy could cause damages to potentially thousands of homeless children," said Rene Heybach of the CCH Law Project. "We want this case to go to trial."

The Board of Education filed a motion to dismiss the case. Defense lawyer Deborah Harvey argued that the federal No Child Left Behind Act gives the board full authority to close under-performing and under-utilized schools without any parental support.

But the case is not about the board's authority to close schools, according to Heybach. It is about opening the school closing policy up to public scrutiny and minimizing negative impacts to children. "It is one thing to have authority to close schools. It is another thing to close a school no matter what," she said.

Circuit Court Judge Julia M. Nowicki supported Heybach's argument. "I see the issue as planning before you close a school," said the judge as she flipped through pages of litigation against the board. Nowicki will decide whether or not CCH has a case by Jan. 27.

If the case goes to trial, the negative impact of school closings on all Chicago Public School students, both homeless and non-homeless, may be re-examined.

Kenwood-Oakland Community Organization board president Jim Brown has been calling on CPS to include parents and the community in the school closing policy for m ore than a year. He said the coalition's lawsuit is critical because most school closures occur in low-income communities. ...

Heybach said the existing policy is especially disruptive to homeless children moved again and again in conjunction with the demolition of public housing. ...In 2000, the board settled the first homeless children case by agreeing to allow the children to remain in their schools of origin and include parents in the planning process. ..."CPS did no planning and never involved parents in the planning process," Heybach said [so] the Law Project went to court again in the case of Salaverez v. Edwards on behalf of about 230 homeless children. ...CPS spokesperson Peter Cunningham says "Whether a child is homeless or not is irrelevant (to creating new schools under 2010.) CPS served 9,000 homeless students last year. Top

Msgr. John J. Egan Urban Center of DePaul University has formed a coalition to rethink and address the "permanent" face of neighborhood deterioration. It's called the "New Chicago School of Community and Economic Development" (NCS). The organization is to be think and practice based and is to promote comprehensive"high road" strategies of wealth creation and development that help eradicate poverty while encouraging an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable society. It looks at places where programs were implemented to overcome deep-seated barriers and link low-income residents and distressed neighborhoods to economic development-Austin, Cleveland, Seattle, Philadelphia, Oakland, Portland, Rochester.

Some of the city strategies to take back and remake neglected housing: preserving Chicago's existing affordable housing and strengthening neighborhoods.

The Troubled Building Initiative, passed in 2003, under which the city as a last course can seize property from negligent owners and help new owners redevelop the property as affordable has been applied to over 1,400 properties as of October, 2005.

Mayor Daley has proposed an enhancement called the Slum Nuisance Property ordinance, which would substantially increase fines as well as re-define "nuisance" to include one that contains an immanently dangerous and hazardous code violation or needs repairs that cost more than the current market value, not just when an owner walks away and doesn't make necessary repairs. Fines would be $200 to $1,000 a day additional, and lenders would also be liable if they did not intervene. Daley said in October that "The fines have to be personal..You have to the pocket." If fines are not complied with, the property can be sized. Aldermen see problems: individual small building homeowner can be held liable for drug and other activity in the vicinity, the fines are draconian and are administered by bureaucrats in the first instance and in the courts only by appeal.

Commissioner of Housing John G. Markowski wrote in the Feb. 1 2006 Herald:

A great city is measures by more than an impressive skyline, a vibrant business community and a wealth of cultural attractions. It's where--and how--people live that's the true measure of a vital city. Chicago is the most livable big city in America, a city where families enjoy clean, safe affordable neighborhoods.

Under the leadership of Mayor Richard M. Daley, our city has made a substantial commitment to the long-term viability of affordable housing. Chicago has spent more than $3 billion to support 100,000 housing units since Mayor Daley took office in 1989. Meanwhile, the Chicago Department of Housing's five-year plan, "Build, Preserve Lead: A Housing Agenda for Chicago's Neighborhoods," commits $1.9 billion in resources to create, preserve an otherwise support 48,000 units of affordable housing by the end of 2008.

We're also working with the Chicago Housing Authority to create new and exciting mixed-income communities to replace former public housing developments as part of the CHA's ambitious 10-yeasr Plan for Transformation. These new communities are providing quality, affordable housing while spurring economic development in areas where little or no development has occurred for decades.

While Chicago experiences a housing boom that has resulted in a wide variety of housing stock across the city, we're capitalizing on that private market growth to benefit affordable housing production. So far, our efforts have produced more than 900 units in market-rate developments since 2002.

This success has been achieved through initiatives such as our Affordable Requirements Ordinance, the Chicago Partnership for Affordable Neighborhoods (CPAN), which provides affordable condominiums in market rate developments and the downtown density bonus.

Our ongoing partnerships with community development organizations and faith-based developers have resulted in the creation of new homes, quality affordable rental developments and the rehabilitation of housing that helps improve the quality of life for residents.

Much has been achieved, but we can always do more. As we continue to meet the challenge of providing more affordable housing for all Chicagoans, we will also seek innovative ways to develop those units. Our commitment is, and will continue to be, making life more affordable for all the residents of this city.


Concerns, demonstrations grow over fear of closures of mental health facilities as as result in part of the state fiscal crisis.

January 29 there was a demonstration at the Woodlawn Center, 63rd at Woodlawn by STOP and Chicago's Community Mental Heath Board. If Woodalwn is one th 4 o 12 th city closes, the nearest clinic will be in Englewood. Especially disturbing to some is that the burden is born by the South and Southeast sides, minority populations, and that it could be tied to pro-gentrification thinking. Affected certainly would include homeless incluig thsoe trying to restablize after prison (as experts said also at a forum January 31). The clinic is also seen as as communityanchor.

Feature: Affordable, diverse and sustainable housing stock in Hyde Park/ Kenwood

Diversity, inclusiveness, including re: housing change. Hyde Park is overall and locally more diverse and integrated than in at least a long time, if ever, according to the 2000 U.S. Census and widespread observation. There are fewer blocks that are exclusively, or even by large majority, the home of one racial, ethnic or income group. The the number of nationalities and ethic groups present in small or substantial numbers has been large for over a century but is now if anything even higher. Substantial and perhaps increasing numbers of people from surrounding neighborhoods spend time and money in Hyde Park. Is Hyde Park homogenous? No. Both by race and ethnicity and by income, people tend to be clustered, but the clusters are more broken up and with lower percentages of whatever group predominates. East Hyde Park and Kenwood are less distinct than they used to be. In some areas this appears to be partially a result of small and larger upscale developments such as Renaissance Place at the old Osteopathic Hospital. Sometimes the average-income small-scale changes have strange results: Kozminski School in 2003 lost significant funding because the average family income around the school, including the Renaissance project, is now above a low-income funding cutoff point, even though there has been no change in the composition of the student body (nearly all low-income). Kenwood Academy has also lost some funding from similar changes. As for more than fifty years, a wide variety of organizations and places work on these issues and to bring Hyde Parkers into conversation and inclusion (see Ending Homeslessness/ open communities). Minority business/retail ownership and thematic offerings, including in arts and stores, have grown enormously in the past few years. See an article showing how density can be an asset.

The Harper Court Chess controversy highlights another aspect of the diversity and inclusiveness issue. Fights over schools equity (i.e. Kozminski and Reavis) also show fissures in the community, especially between west versus central and east Hyde Park.

Affordability. See Neighborhood Development and Policy, Community Resources.

Affordability is an increasing worry, especially as a growing number of properties are being converted to condominiums (although it's hardly a stamped like the '70s and early '80s). Hard measures (that are more than just neighborhood-wide averages) should be sought. Several faith-based organizations including HP cluster of Interfaith Open Communities (HP Transitional Housing Project, Home Sharing) are working on the problem: from home and apartment sharing between empty nesters and persons of modest means to cooperative housing.

These problems plague the whole South Side and city--especially as, at least until very recently, CHA has been emptying faster than refilling and a disturbing proportion of its ex-residents are homeless. Affordability also affects more well-off folks, as well as middle class owners on fixed incomes, as tax assessments soar (see Taxes) and fees rise and mandated building masonry, elevator, and other costs rise (see Sprinkler Retrofit), threatening viability of both rental and condo buildings and potentially driving people out of their homes and the neighborhood. Fortunately, transportation and parking and purchasing (with exceptions) costs are reasonable and housing stock generally sound although again aging in this neighborhood. (A coalition on the County Board seeks to put a stop on increases in assessments for owners of 10 years or more standing in areas with rapid growth in assessments.) On the other hand, a drop in housing prices would certainly have a devastating effect on the neighborhood, as it did in the 1930s and before and during Urban Renewal.

Much of the upper classes (junior and senior) U of C student population is in the private housing market, usually, but not always--some parents buy/invest in condos for their kids--, seeking affordable housing that creates niches for real estate managing firms (sometimes acting like slum lords) to individual owners. Their presence, as well as the University's sometimes taking market units for student and staff housing, does increase the pressure on availability and rents, but the University seems to be avoiding imbalance. It will be interesting to see whether the university pulling out of such dorms as the Shoreland in favor of just south of the Midway and near-campus will have significant effects.

The University, 30 percent of whose staff lives in the area, has been providing, and now has a new program (EAHP) of, subsidies for members of the University and Hospitals, including forgivable loans, for those who buy and stay for a certain length with the institution and in new units in HPK, North Kenwood-Oakland, Washington Park, and Woodlawn. ( and and Real Estate Operations, 5100 S. Dorchester.) For such programs to come into being, there must be 1) farsighted individuals such as King Harris, a trustee of the University and a board-program person in the Metropolitan Planning Council, 2) partnerships such as that between MPO and Housing Services of Chicago and the city, 3) a wide experience and perception that those in authority at the institution (such as President Randel and Community and Intergovernmental Affairs) will pick up and follow through on good ideas. It's notable that IIT is collaboratively embarking on the same program for Bronzeville developments. This is a trend to watch: employer-assisted mortgages. The catch is that you often have to sign an agreement not to quit your job or sell the mortgage during the next 5 years--This may be a great deal if you can live with the above, the neighborhood is ok and increasing in value and livability, and the employer agrees not to terminate except for just cause.

Some believe that, once urban renewal and vigorous code enforcement bought the neighborhood internal and temporal space, the abandonment and depopulation of the surrounding areas, providing the chance for rebuilding and repopulation with mixed income now, is what has saved Hyde Park and Kenwood as viable, multiracial communities. In these surrounding areas, our aldermen led the fight, with Ald. Tillman, for affordable housing set-asides for new developments. Their bill, with 20 of 50 supporting, is near critical level of support. A Daley administration bill that mainly codifies present rules and has loopholes, was adapted however. Two projects to our north are advancing and receiving City Council funding (Madden-Wells/Lake Crescent and Jazz on the Boulevard.) They have affordable components, although the debate continues over the units' affordability to whom, and it is evident that the quality of units in such developments is much lower on the inside. On the other side of the debate, groups of upscale relative newcomers (almost all of whom are African Americans), oppose almost any component of lower income people in "their" space. To the west of Kenwood, a number of larger buildings have been converted to affordable senior housing in the area. A non-profit group will be rehabilitating CHA building(s) as mixed income in the Washington Park homes.

Alderman Preckwinkle co-sponsored a resolution passed by City Council in 2003 asking increased federal help--actually a National Trust Fund--aiming at 1.5 million affordable units of housing in Chicago assisting families that spend more than 30 percent of income on housing (a whopping 41 percent in "affluent Illinois). The city has a cooperative housing, renter-to-buyer program. Call the ward offices to learn more. There have been largely attended seminars and rallies. Some state legislation was passed in 2004 promoting affordability, assessment growth relief, and time for associations of subsidized housing structures to buy buildings when subsidy is dropped or times out.

Congressman Danny Davis has amassed an impressive coalition and funding for affordable first-time homeownership in targeted neighborhoods of the south and west sides, including Kenwood and Oakland, along with prospective homeowner training. Congressman Rush has a similar program. The zoning reform ordinance's parking requirements for developments and homeowners will also have a major impact on affordability as well as quality of life. (Requirements apparently stay the same at 1:1. See Zoning Reform home.)

Affordability of course requires lending options. There are lots more in the area than even in 1990, after the drought and aftermath of red-lining, restrictive banking laws and worse ended. And being added is a community-owned South Side institution, South Side Credit Union, the dream of Greg Brown, Cecilia Butler, Walter Freeman, and others, at 55th and Wentworth. Among the first task is to build its depositor base, including with Individual Development Accounts.

Much "affordable", well-designed, multi-family mixed-income housing is being built near employment and transit,with rent subsidy provided, under the Regional Housing Initiative under the umbrella of the Metropolitan Planning Council and the Illinois Housing Development Authority. Contact Robin Snyderman at 312 863-6007.

On another front, Senior Suites is a new alternative to assisted living and nursing homes. Learn more about efforts at affordability and to combat homelessness in Neighborhood Capital Budget Group website. There is one in west Oakland and another at 67th and Oglesby.

Things to watch: any increase in particular buildings that seem ripe for conversion or are on the slide (including the "0 Deposit" signs?), any upsurge in tear-downs and buildouts instead of rehabs, how the redevelopment goes in Oakland and Woodlawn (in Woodlawn especially there is very little "affordable" component in new housing and huge tracts of empty land are not being built on)--including these neighborhoods' ability to attract retail and services since elimination of retail zones on most of 47th and 63rd, any upsurges in section 8 housing or slum warehousing in the neighborhood and surroundings with any impacts this has.


Housing stock maintenance, with room for renewal and also historic preservation and preservation of block quality and characteristics; control of density. These goals have often been vigorously-pursued and contentions goals in the community. In its early years, HPKCC fought for and over Urban Renewal and housing regulation/density reduction issues (and the wide consequences of these for racial and income groups). (Visit Urban Renewal and Urban Renewal Timeline.) Sometimes renewal was indeed minority removal (including Appalachians, not just African Americans) or "black and white together against the poor", but not always. The Project had many distinct and conflicting goals and constraints and sometimes was surgical, in other places was close to being the bulldozing it was supposed to be replacing. The Conference organized or coordinatied 60 block clubs. SECC, in part representing the University and persons and interests alarmed at the "idealism" of the Conference or seeking more practical or specific goals, followed the Conference into and eventually became the lead in housing code monitoring and enforcement (sometimes draconian and accompanied by dirty tricks). SECC continues to help and encourage the city in its monitoring and enforcement programs. Today, block clubs are weak to uneven, with notable exceptions and attempts by CAPS to reestablish them in troubled sectors.

Recently, there have been conflicts and organization over historic preservation and density-from-development issues. Density is equated by many with congestion. HPKCC and others are examining with interest ideas ways that zoning reform and other tools can help preserve or foster desired microscale character through such subtle modifications as the kind of requirements re off-street parking and footprint or back yard land use requirements. Demolition of CHA developments have resulted in dispersal of gang and drug problems and major crime into northwest Hyde Park. This seems to be subsiding.

See an article arguing for density as part of neighborhood-building. See also Woodlawn News.

Some recent facts and developments. The average family now spends about half its income on housing- this used to be 30 percent. Some hope new federal tax breaks will help families cope and real estate and construction developers be more able to include affordable housing and charge less per unit; others doubt this.
October 27 Streetwise carried seven statements by affordability and homelessness leaders on what works and what doesn't.