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Two key housing bills on their way to the Governor's Office

There may be little wiggle room in the state's budget in 2006, but housing advocates continues to pursue policy advances and other program efficiencies to improve the quality affordable and workforce housing options near jobs and transportation throughout Illinois.

Most recently, the General Assembly passed the Comprehensive Housing Planning Act (SB 2290) and the Business Location Efficiency Incentive Act (SB 2885), aka "Location Matters," and both bills are on their way to the governor for signature.

MPC's Web article "Recent forums underscore the value of MPC's current housing agenda in Springfield," provides background on these bills and other ideas to increase housing options in Illinois.

Throughout Illinois, working families are among those struggling to find homes they can afford in desirable communities. More and more business, municipal and community leaders are seeking tools and policies that support affordable and workforce housing and the ability of local employees to live near their jobs. Remind Gov. Blagojevich that these two bills will help those families, as well as their employers and municipal leaders.

SB 2290 transforms the state's first housing policy, as created through his executive order in 2003, into a law requiring state departments such as Human Services, Transportation, Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and others to work together with the Illinois Housing Development Authority and municipalities to ensure that all relevant state and local plans and budgets are coordinated to advance the preservation and creation of affordable, workforce housing. By passing the Comprehensive Housing Planning Act, Illinois will continue its momentum to link state spending in key areas such as economic development, transportation and human services to support affordable housing.

SB 2885 provides incentives for employers to consider and invest in housing options for the local workforce. For more information on the many ways employer investments in housing are already leveraging private sector investment and leadership, visit www.reachillinois.org . These incentives truly pay off. The "Location Matters" bill represents just one example how the Comprehensive Housing Planning Act would align spending, in this case related to economic development, to get housing built or preserved for the people who-- and in the places where -- it's needed. This bill also allows the Dept. Commerce Economic Opportunity (DCEO) to make the most efficient use of state resources while investing in workforce stability – such as employer-assisted or transit programs. DCEO is also able to apply limited state economic development funds more wisely; reduce commute times resulting in less traffic congestion air pollution; promote the availability of workforce housing near jobs; and help businesses build a stable workforce.

To ensure the passage of these milestone bills, and to let Gov. Blagojevich know his leadership on housing issues is needed more than ever, MPC is encouraging people to e-mail or call the governor, at (217) 782-0244 or (312) 814-2121, to express support for both bills.

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