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Regional housing pilot could scale up ‘Solutions for Sustainable Communities’

Rendering of Oak Park’s recently approved Grove Apartments.

During May, when national colleagues such as the National Housing Conference's Center for Housing Policy,  Brookings and Policylink are spotlighting the need for transportation and infrastructure policies that better promote equity and opportunity for lower income households, local leaders quietly stepped up their own efforts to spotlight one of Chicagoland’s many unique best practices.

On May 16, seven public housing authorities joined the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, MPC, Workforce Investment Boards, and other key civic partners in urging U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan to “to implement the Chicago Regional Housing Choice Initiative, a regional ‘access to opportunity’ housing pilot. This effort builds on a number of past programs and pilots in metropolitan Chicago, including the current Regional Housing Initiative (RHI), a unique collaboration among seven housing authorities that have been pooling project-based vouchers to support regional development and preservation priorities. Our current goal is to coordinate with HUD to inform your efforts to promote regional coordination and improved opportunities for households using various forms of federal rental assistance.”

Since April, when the Illinois Housing Assistance Research Project released an analysis of whether Housing Choice Vouchers are helping families “move up” in a manner that improves their access to good jobs, schools, transit and other amenities, IHARP partners also have stepped up to support this proposed Housing Choice pilot. 

While this regional effort creates needed incentives for housing near jobs and transportation, MPC embraces the Sustainable Communities Parnership, Transportation for America, and the above mentioned colleagues’ efforts to provide real incentives for transportation investments to support affordable and workforce housing near jobs and transit.

If you’re able, please join MPC in September at the Solutions for Sustainable Communities, the 2011 Learning Conference on State and Local Housing Policy.  The regional housing pilot will be among the many nationwide “best practices” featured.

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