Since 2009, a group of municipalities in Chicago’s southern suburbs have been trying out a new approach to tackling common housing issues. They have been pursuing funding jointly—to be more efficient and strategic—and have been making great use of shared resources. On Monday, July 11, this collaborative effort got a huge lift when Gov. Pat Quinn announced $6.6 million in funding to help revitalize six of these towns.
“For the past two years, south suburban communities have worked together through the Chicago Southland Housing and Community Development Collaborative to efficiently and effectively address the housing crisis that hit our region harder than anywhere else in Illinois,” said Ed Paesel, executive director, South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association. “To date, this partnership has leveraged federal, county, private and philanthropic funding to implement a comprehensive plan for sustainable, energy-efficient housing redevelopment near job centers and mass transit. Today’s announcement is yet another enthusiastic nod, this time from the State, that this approach—targeted reinvestment by neighboring communities working across borders—is a model that works.”
This funding—part of the “IKE” Disaster Recovery Program—will be used to acquire and rehab or demolish vacant or abandoned homes, as well as make needed infrastructure improvements to mitigate future flooding. The housing rehab projects will be managed by the Collaborative, which will significantly reduce the burden on the individual towns and allow for more efficient implementation due to the scale created by combining multiple projects into a single effort.
“We are so excited, not just about the State’s funding for our communities, but also the State’s support for our collaborative approach,” said Janice Morrissy, the Collaborative’s director of housing initiatives. “In this time of stretched municipal budgets and staff, support for this new way of doing business means a great deal to the communities involved. The towns came together and applied jointly for a reason, so we’re thrilled to have our effort and vision rewarded.”
This housing work through the Collaborative is one piece of the comprehensive Chicago Southland Green TIME Zone sustainable development strategy being pursued in the southern suburbs. MPC is pleased to be a partner on these innovative interjurisdictional efforts and congratulates the south suburbs for a well-deserved award.