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Municipalities have little time to capitalize on new federal housing resources

Last week, the federal government announced it would allocate over $172 million to the State of Illinois , through the Illinois Housing Development Authority, as well as several counties and larger municipalities. These Neighborhood Stabilization Grants provide limited resources – enough to recover just a fraction of the more than 30,000 properties that have been foreclosed upon in metropolitan Chicago since 2007. Local policymakers responsible for allocating these dollars have to quickly devise plans to complete the acquisition, rehab or demolition, and resale of those properties within 18 months.

To make the best use of these funds, it is critical for local leaders to create a system that allows and encourages municipalities to work together across boundaries and leverage additional private and public sector support.

One proven public-private partnership model for increasing homeownership opportunities in Illinois is employer-assisted housing. Clearly, in addition to EAH’s ability to prevent foreclosures – thanks to successful counseling and downpayment componenets -- EAH also can be a tool policymakers can leverage to ensure local employees are among those purchasing the reclaimed homes. On October 6, the National Association of Realtors will host Bring Workers Home, an Employer-Assisted Housing Conference in Chicago.

EAH also is among a feature of a new home ownership incentive program to purchase priority homes inChicago. The Find Your Place in Chicago campaign, spearheaded by the City of Chicago and Partnership for New Communities, allows local employees purchasing in targeted communities to benefit not only from their employers’ support, but also an additional $10,000 from this new initiative.

MPC’s interjurisdictional work was featured in “Bridging Boundaries: Local mayors join forces to meet their shared housing need,” on the cover of MPC’s Summer 2008 Regional Connection.

 

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