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Transit, walkable neighborhoods linked to reduced foreclosures

A recent study found that mortgage foreclosures are less likely in communities that are more compact, walkable, and accessible to public transportation. Analysis of 40,000 mortgages in Chicago, San Francisco, and Jacksonville, Fl., by the Natural Resources Defense Council confirms that the costs associated with car dependency increase a family's likelihood to fall into foreclosure, when all other factors are controlled. Transportation costs account for roughly 17 percent of the average American household's income, but living in walkable neighborhoods and taking public transit can allow people to significantly reduce their transportation costs.

The Livable Communities Act has been introduced in Congress to support planning and investments that link housing, transportation, and workforce to promote walkable communities. Engaging employers in supporting jobs, workforce housing, and transportation connections is key to success. That's why MPC is supporting language that would provide incentives for employer engagement in creating livable communities. Here's a sample letter of support to send to your Congressional delegation.

One example is the role employers are playing in helping employees live closer to work or transit. Loyola University Chicago provides assistance for employees to buy homes within walking distance of its Rogers Park campus or within 1/2 mile of the red line that connects its two Chicago locations. Analysis of the University of Chicago's EAH program has shown that the employees helped by the program are saving time and money, as well as reducing their carbon output by living closer to work.

In its work assisting collaboratives in the southern and western suburbs with foreclosure recovery efforts, MPC has urged the communities to focus their limited resources near public transit.  This new study provides renewed motivation for such a strategy.

Read the study, Reducing Foreclosures and Environmental Impacts through Location-Efficient Neighborhood Design.

Learn about the Housing Transportation Affordability Index.

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For more than 80 years, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) has made the Chicago region a better place to live and work by partnering with businesses, communities and governments to address the area's toughest planning and development challenges. MPC works to solve today's urgent problems while consistently thinking ahead to prepare the region for the needs of tomorrow. Read more about our work »

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