Local ideas inform regional and national trends - Metropolitan Planning Council

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Local ideas inform regional and national trends

Building on lessons learned by local leaders, MPC, and the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus during the first round of the federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning submits massive regional proposal for NSP 2.

It's been less than 12 months since the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) was established through the Housing and Economic Recovery Act to help communities devastated by foreclosures.  It didn't take long to figure out that a strategic approach to the problem, working in collaboration instead of competing against each other, would be far more effective for the cash-strapped Cook County towns most in need.  And already, the second round of NSP funding established through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was designed to reward communities who -- like South Cook and West Cook leaders -- work together across borders.  In a tremendous show of leadership, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) responded to NSP 2 with a historic regional effort.  It's amazing how much our region has learned and shared in recent months.

With support from the Regional Home Ownership Preservation Initiative (RHOPI) - convened by the Federal Reserve Bank, the Chicago Community Trust and NHS - local leaders from South and West Cook County worked strategically with the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus and Metropolitan Planning Council to both buck and bolster the system. Because NSP 1 was allocated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) through formula to the State and Cook County (and 12 other jurisdictions in Illinois), the towns most in need were positioned to compete with each other and area developers in response to Requests for Proposals submitted by both these entities.  Instead, local municipal leaders joined MPC and the Caucus in advocating that a cooperative approach would be much more effective - and that HUD, the State and the County should reward such innovation. 

And, in that time, there's been much progress:

. On May 4, clusters of 3 towns in west and 17 in south Cook County, submitted joint or coordinated proposals to the State of Illinois for NSP funding, focusing their efforts along rail and economic development corridors that indeed cross borders.  For an August 14 deadline, both clusters are now updating, expanding and refining those proposals for the submission to Cook County, with over 20 towns now engaged in South Cook, and 6 in the West.  Both the state and county are encouraging municipal collaboration.

. On May 26, both clusters of towns received the needed infusion of resources - thanks to the Chicago Community Trust - to hire a director of housing initiatives to work across borders on maximizing NSP, preventing additional foreclosures and pursing other needed housing strategies.  The South Suburban Housing Collaborative hired long-time and well-respected Riverdale Community and Economic Development Director Janice Morrissy to lead their effort.  The West Cook Collaborative retained the prestigious and experienced nonprofit, IFF.

. Also, in May, HUD released a Request for Proposal for round two of NSP - funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  Rather than allocating the dollars through a formula, as was the case for NSP 1, HUD issued a competitive RFP and stressed the value of regional plans and multijurisdictional solutions.

. In an historic and massive undertaking, CMAP offered to take the lead in responding to the RFP for NSP 2, which includes the participation of the state itself (through the Illinois Housing Development Authority), five counties (Cook, DuPage, Kendall, Lake, and Will) and five cities (Aurora, Berwyn, Cicero, Elgin and Joliet).

MPC applauds the leadership and spirit of collaboration demonstrated by CMAP and its state and local partners, and will continue to advocate for federal investments that reward this kind of needed innovation and coordination.

For more background on any of the above, please take a look at the following:

CMAP's NSP 2 Proposal  

Regarding the South Cook work:

. The Brookings Fact Sheet featuring South Cook
. HUD's best practice webinar featuring South Cook
. Recent Sun Times clip
. Recent editorial by South Suburban Mayors and Managers Executive Director, Ed Paesel

Regarding the West Cook work
. Recent Chicago Tribune clip 
Regarding the Regional Home Ownership Preservation Initiative:
. Outcomes of RHOPI's Task Force on Vacant and Abandoned Buildings
. Initial interjurisdictional efforts
. RHOPI Action Plan: Addressing the Foreclosure Crisis in the Chicago Metro Area

For additional information, please contact Dominic Tocci, Manager of Workforce Housing Collaborations, at 312/863-6046; or Robin Snyderman, Vice President of Community Development, at 312/863-6007.


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