Communities across the Chicago region – and local philanthropies – are endorsing interjurisdictional collaboration as a creative, efficient and effective way to address issues that cut across municipal borders, such as the foreclosure crisis.
In the latest example of Chicago suburbs working together, Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Mount Prospect, Palatine and Rolling Meadows – known collectively as the Northwest Suburban Housing Collaborative – hired a housing coordinator, thanks to funding from The Chicago Community Trust. This month, Mary Lu Seidel began working with all five towns as well as with local financial institutions and community leaders to identify strategies to recover from and prevent foreclosures and preserve rental homes and condominiums.
“With growing challenges and dwindling resources, communities are turning to the collaborative model to more effectively serve their communities,” Mary Lu said. “It is exciting to coordinate the work for this forward-thinking group of municipalities, developing solutions to address their common challenges.”
Mary Lu, who has more than 20 years of experience in community development throughout the Chicago area, also will support the five communities when they get underway in 2012 with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning’s (CMAP) Local Technical Assistance program. CMAP selected the Northwest Suburban Housing Collaborative, as well as two other collaboratives in the region, to participate in the Homes for a Changing Region planning process, through which CMAP will provide a housing supply and demand analysis and help the communities plan for the kind of housing they want to see in the future.
The reality for many municipalities, particularly in this economy, is that they don’t have the funds to support even one staff person devoted to planning – much less one person devoted to housing. When communities cannot plan, they miss big opportunities. We at MPC welcome Mary Lu on board and are excited to see what the Northwest Suburban Housing Collaborative accomplishes with her support in the coming months and years.