The gap betweenincomes and the cost of a home
iswidening throughoutChicago region.
Transportation,energy, and environmentalcosts are on the rise as
well, driven upward by the flow ofmore and more people moving further
andfurther away from urban centers in the search ofaffordable
homes.Truly affordable homes - good homes close to good jobs, good
schools, good transit, and good open space - are an increasingly rare commodity. In an
effort to ease these trends, the Metropolitan Planning Council's Housing
for Sensible Growth initiative works to create innovative solutions and build
strongerpolicies that stimulate the creation and preservation of quality homes at
Through the Housing for Sensible Growth initiative, MPC focuses on supporting
local, state and federal policymakers in their efforts to understand and address
regional housing needs. MPC partners with municipal and state staff, elected
officials, employers, developers, homebuilders and advocates to generate
solutions that address the regional mismatch between the location of housing and
jobs, as well as the mismatch between wages and housing costs. MPC works to
expand the tools available to policymakers and housing providers, and to
increase the constituency of housing supporters who recognize that quality,
affordable housing is central to the social and economic stability of our
neighborhoods and our region.
Supporting Local and Regional
has partnered with several regional organizations, local policymakers and
advocates to expand policy tools that aid municipalities in meeting and
fostering support for their housing goals. Many cities and towns have recognized
that the lack of affordable housing directly affects the quality of our
neighborhoods and economic vitality of our region and have begun to implement
these policy tools to address their housing needs. Through its Housing for
Sensible Growth initiative, MPC works directly with these towns to identify
housing goals, implement appropriate policies, access resources and when
appropriate, form regional partnerships.
(MMC) createdits St. Charles
created such a body , and charged it with implementing policies that will
increase the supply of quality homes affordable to a variety of income levels
and that meet the city'shousingendorsementcriteria. Thecommission isresponsible
for advancing key housing policies that will preserve and improve the existing
affordable housing stock, leverage the private market to create new affordable
homes and, research and tap resources at the local, state and federal levels.
Similar groups exist in
Park's Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance
Inclusionary zoning (IZ)ordinances are used to ensure that some percentage of a
community's new houses and apartments are affordable topeople with low
to moderate incomes (these categories correspond to what percentage of the
Area Median Income a person or household earns annually). In
HighlandPark, a community on the shores of Lake Michigan north of
least 50% of all IZ-produced affordable housing must be sold to low-income
households (those whose income does not exceed 80% AMI), and as many as 50% of
available homes may be made available for moderate-income households (those
whose income does not exceed 120% AMI.). Low-income units must be priced, on
average, for a household who earns 65% AMI (this unit would be available to a
household earning 80% AMI or less).
Moderate-income units must be priced, on average, for a household who
earns 100% AMI (similarly, this unit would be available to a household earning
between 81% and 120% AMI).
developer is producing only one affordable unit, it may be priced at the top
of the income category rather than at the mandated average (i.e. 80% AMI
rather than 65% AMI).
Before closing, potential buyers must
complete a first-time homebuyer education course.
This class is offered by the Lake
County Affordable Housing Corporation.
The class focuses primarily on issues of money management, financial
decision making, and the ins and outs of specific mortgages.
Households who are not mortgage ready
are also encouraged to take the class to become mortgage ready.
As of May, 2007,
are the only other municipalities with policies of inclusionary
- Similar to these IZ policies, Chicago's brand new (adopted May 14, 2007)
mandate that whenever
a developer builds under conditions that include zoning changes allowing for
higher density or in which a developer buys City land, the developer shall be
required to establish ten percent (10%) of the units in the development as
affordable. Additionally, whenever a developer receives financial
assistance in connection with a development, the developer shall be required
to provide twenty percent (20%) of the units in the development as
Forest's Housing Trust Fund
, established in 2005, is intended to provide
financial resources for the promotion,preservation, and production of
long-term affordable housing. The City Council is responsible for
allocation of Trust Fund dollars, and it is at the Council's discreation how
and in what form those dollars are used - for construction or preservation of
homes, land assembly, homebuyer education, support for non-profit
organizations working toward the City's affordable housing goals, etc.
Revenue to support the Trust Fundcomes from the
($10,000 for a single-family or
two-family building, $5,000 per unit for larger maulti-family buildings) and
payments in lieu of constructing some or all of the required affordable
housing units mandated by the IZOrdinance.
Park has a Community Land Trust
achieve similar ends - the provision and preservation of permanently
In 2003, the Governor created the State's first Housing
Policy, building on the recommendations of the Transition Team Housing he
appointed in 2002 and formalized via the pivotal 2003 Executive
Order He then appointed a Task
Force to transform that policy into a multi-year plan to promote
affordability and choice, create and preserve the state's supply of affordable
and workforce housing, and engage local and state leaders in advancing housing
solutions for all Illinois families. In 2005, the State ofIllinois released "Building for
Success: Illinois' Comprehensive Housing Plan," the first housing plan of its kind. It has subsequently been
updated twice – "On the Road to Success:
Illinois' Comprehensive Housing Plan," and
"Affordable Housing Dimensions: Illinois'
2007 Annual Comprehensive Plan." IHDA also publishes semi-annual progress
Beyond the Plan, the State
has passed numerous pieces of legislation that demonstrate the progress afoot:
- 2003 Housing Opportunity Tax Incentive Act - To encourage the
owners of properties located in opportunity areas to rent their apartments to
Housing Choice Voucher holders.
- 2003 Affordable Housing Planning and Appeals Act – To require
that Illinois communities with insufficient supplies of affordable housing
(less than 10% of its year-round housing, communities with fewer than 1,000
are exempt) to bridge that gap, starting with an affordable housing plan. A
State Housing Appeal Board will be activated in January of 2009; the purpose
of this board is to hear appeal from affordable housing developers whose
proposals have been denied in communities with insufficient supplies of
affordable housing. MPC has, and will continue to, work with communities to
not only reach the 10% threshhold, but to move beyond it. To that end MPC has
worked closely with communities such as Extension of IL Affordable Housing Tax Credit - Created in
2002 as a five-year initiative to provide tax relief to corporations investing
in affordable housing, this tax credit exemplifies the kinds of innovative
partnerships that leverage critical private sector dollars. A set-aside for
those investing in employer-assisted housing has also been a key
component of this legislation.
- 2005 Regional Planning Act - Led to the creation of the Chicago Metropolitan
Agency for Planning , consolidating planning in northeastern Illinois, and
explicitly addressing housing as part of land-use and transportation planning.
- 2005 Rental
Housing Support Act- Created a new $10 county
recordation to generate about $30 million annually for rent subsidies for
extremely low-income families throughout Illinois.
- 2006 Business Location Efficiency Act - 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 .
- 2007 (Pending) Good Housing Good Schools - This bill would create a
school funding bonus for school districts in communities that approve
multifamily housing developments to advance Live Near Work and Preservation
goals of Illinois'
Comprehensive Housing Plan. The annual amount of the school funding bonus for
eligible developments would be $1,120 for each two-bedroom unit, with $560
awarded for each additional bedroom. Based on this formula, the state's annual
estimated cost for the bonus is less than $5 million per year. The bill passed
through the Senate on March 27, with a vote of 50 – 6 – 1, and through
the House on May 25, with a vote of 113-2.
MPC's 2007 Policy
Agenda also aims to
explore opportunities for recrafting the criteria for "Live Near Work" points on
the state's tax credit application. The current litmus test is primarily
employer support - which is valuable but does not account for objective criteria
such as the strength of job markets near new homes or a
municipality's level of affordability. MPC is exploring a revised set
of criteria that would award points based on the jobs-to-household ratio of the
zip code receiving the new homes, on the current share of affordable homes in
the receiving municipality, and on financial support from local employers. The
goal of this exploration is to create homes for working families in close
proximity to jobs, and in communities that currently lack available affordable
Building Community Acceptance
MPC's Community Acceptance Strategy is a partnership with Housing Illinois (HI), and the Illinois Housing Council (IHC) to build the public and political will needed to secure new
housing policies and approve proposals for new, well-built and well-managed
affordable homes. The strategy coordinates the resources, policy tools and
technical assistance each organization offers in an effort to maximize their
effectiveness on the ground in communities throughout the region. When ahousing
policy or development that promotes the availabilty of affordable homes and is
in line with the MMC's Housing Endorsement Criteria meets resistance, the
Community Acceptance Strategy partners can be mobilized to build support, voice
positive sentiments about affordability, and overcome stereotypes.
Housing Illinois is a
coalition of housing advocates, civic organizations and financial institutions
using research, advertising, media outreach, and organizing to raise public
awareness and encourage civic and political leadership on behalf of affordable
housing in communities throughout the Chicago metropolitan region and the
state of Illinois. Housing Illinois' slogan, "We need the people who need
affordable housing," is familiar throughout the Chicago region.
Home Grown: Local Housing
Strategies in Action
a compilation of case studies from
around the region of local housing policies, programs and developments that
address housing affordability, accessibility and quality.This is a "living"
document that will be updated annually as newprograms and policies are
estabilished in theChicago region.
here for a helpful list of up-to-date housing research, policy tools, and