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National Foreclosure Settlement Awards announced!

Lyon, Danny, 1942-

Abandoned House on the North Side of Chicago

To confront the housing woes that many neighborhoods in Chicago and other metropolitan regions are facing—foreclosures, vacancies and abandonment—Ill. Attorney General Lisa Madigan, other state attorneys general, and the U.S. Dept. of Justice and U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development secured a $25 billion settlement with the nation’s largest banks. As a result of the settlement, Madigan is directing $70 million in funding over the next three years to 54 housing and community revitalization efforts in Illinois aimed at curtailing spiraling decline. Madigan’s strategies prioritize funding for existing programs and initiatives with demonstrated successes in struggling communities.

Some 130 groups submitted proposals, totaling more than $507 million in requests. On July 17, 2013, Madigan announced the grantees, among them several efforts that Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) has a vested interest in: the Cook County Land Bank Authority, which MPC advocated for and helped establish through MPC President MarySue Barrett’s role as chair of the Land Bank Advisory Committee; Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, Metropolitan Mayors Caucus (MMC) and MPC’s joint Homes for a Changing Region program to plan for future housing needs in communities across the region; and a pilot with MMC and the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association that will help municipalities in Chicagoland develop and implement strategies for managing single-family rental housing and code enforcement.

This influx of new resources for housing and community revitalization is greatly needed, and Madigan’s specifications for allocating them are most welcome. In an encouraging sign that collaboration and efficiency are the order of the day, Madigan gave funding priority to initiatives that are driven by partnerships between communities, governments and nonprofits. The 54 awardees represent different perspectives, experiences and constituencies across Chicagoland, further heightening impact by fostering new policy ideas and strategies for tackling local and regional housing and revitalization challenges. The funding will help these collaboratives build upon their existing capacity and expertise and achieve greater results. Most importantly, the funding will help attract new investment in neglected markets, which in turn – along with creating more attractive neighborhoods overall and attracting business interests and capital – will spur new development.

MPC looks forward to putting the National Foreclosure Settlement funding to work stabilizing our communities.

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