The State of State Housing Policy in Illinois - Metropolitan Planning Council

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The State of State Housing Policy in Illinois

Since last fall, when the House Urban Revitalization Committee hosted hearings on the need for affordable housing in Illinois, the stature of this issue has gained prominence in the legislature, governor’s office and even on the national agenda.

In the Illinois General Assembly, Rep. Julie Hamos (D-Chicago) now chairs the first committee in the House or Senate overseeing housing policy matters.  On Feb. 4, 2003, the Housing and Urban Development Committee had its inaugural hearing, where MPC President MarySue Barrett testified alongside  housing leaders from throughout the state.  Since then, both the committee and the entire House of Representatives passed the Illinois Housing Initiative, HB 2345, which addresses many of the findings of the fall 2002 Illinois House Urban Revitalization Committee hearings on State Housing Issues.  Senator Jeffrey Schoenberg, the Chief sponsor of this legislation, also presided over the hearings last fall.  Those hearings found a need for:

  • a state housing policy with targeted priorities
  • more efficient use of financial resources and
  • more incentives for municipalities to implement plans on the local level.

MPC was particularly pleased that the report on those hearings further recommended that such incentives should utilize the Housing Endorsement Criteria (adopted by the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus as part of its Housing Action Agenda). 

A number of other interesting pieces of housing-related legislation are also moving through the legislature.The Statewide Rental Assistance Program, HB 2206, would create a new funding stream for rental housing.  The Housing Opportunity Tax Incentive Act, HB 2246, would offer incentives to property owners who rent to families using Housing Choice Vouchers in opportunity areas where housing costs are beyond the means of entry-level wage-earners.   MPC also continues its advocacy related to the implementation of the Local Planning Technical Assistance Act , which updates the definition of comprehensive plans to include housing, providing specific language on how to do so while offering municipalities a competetive edge for state resources as they produce housing which meets the needs of people who live or work in their communities.

Housing stakeholders throughout the state are eager to see how Gov. Rod Blagojevich will implement the recommendations of his Transition Team Housing Committee, chaired by U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) and staffed by MPC.  Committee Vice Chairs included former Chicago Alderman Vilma Colom, Riverdale Mayor Zenovia Evans, Michael Goetz of Labor Home Development Corporation, Robert Grossinger of LaSalle Bank, Mark Guethle of Kane County Democrats, Kevin Jackson of the Chicago Rehab Network, Paul Roldan of Hispanic Housing Development Corporation and Herb Rosenberg, a Chicago attorney.

MPC is also pleased to announce that Kelly King Dibble, recently appointed director of the Illinois Housing Development Authority, will speak with Rep. Rush at an MPC roundtable on the state of housing in Illinois on April 29, 2003.  Click here for more information.

Despite proposed cutbacks at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Chicago area mayors are promoting the housing agenda of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Additionally, Urban Land Institute recently featured the housing efforts of the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus Housing Task Force in the January edition of its Urban Land magazine.  The article, entitled "The Chicago Effort," praises the strategy of the MMC Housing Task Force not only for its voluntary and cooperative nature, but also for its incorporation of physical planning and equity issues.

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For more than 85 years, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) has partnered with communities, businesses, and governments to unleash the greatness of the Chicago region. We believe that every neighborhood has promise, every community should be heard, and every person can thrive. To tackle the toughest urban planning and development challenges, we create collaborations that change perceptions, conversations—and the status quo. Read more about our work »

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