Building Community Support
The 2001 Valuing Affordability conference launched Housing Illinois – an unprecedented coalition seeking to create housing specific communications based on sophisticated market research. On behalf of Housing Illinois, CRN has:
- Raised over $250,000 in funding for public awareness
- Commissioned a rigorous study of public attitudes and beliefs about affordable housing that combined a large random sample survey of the area’s population with qualitative interviews.
- Released a report summarizing key findings of the research
- Released a message guide to help advocates, municipal leaders, developers and others deliver effective communications to different segments of the population
In addition, CRN is in the process of:
- Releasing and placing major advertising products for a public education advertising campaign
- Training Housing Illinois members on effective communications and applying research findings on the ground in several city and regional communities to secure the public endorsements of key elected officials.
Following suggestions raised in the Preserving Neighborhoods tract of the Valuing Affordability conference, CRN cultivated relationships with 5 key leaders in Cook County government, and worked with them to pass 4 major property tax initiatives targeted at preservation in gentrifying communities:
Legislation first introduced in 2003 is now awaiting signature by the Governor of Illinois. This legislation (SB2329), the Illinois Assisted Housing Preservation Act, will create the opportunity for tenants to purchase their buildings to maintain affordability requirements. This policy is part of a long-term strategy to preserve the large portfolio of rental stock in Chicago and the State of Illinois.
Capturing the Boom
CRN’s Valuing Affordability conference launched the formation of the affordable housing set-aside workgroup, which articulated a city-wide set-aside policy, and laid out a two-pronged strategy that included the zoning process and a city ordinance. For over a year, CRN and its membership pursued the two-pronged strategy, organizing over 1,000 to attend marches and committee meetings, and to testify on behalf of set-asides and inclusionary zoning.
In December of 2002, Alderman Toni Preckwinkle introduced an Affordable Housing Set Aside Ordinance to City Council. Unlike alternate proposals put forward by the Mayor and the city’s Department of Housing, this ordinance would make set-aside provisions mandatory and would be applicable city-wide. Twenty-six Aldermen signed on to the Affordable Housing Set Aside Ordinance, which had garnered enough support to be carried over on the Council’s agenda. Since that time advocates and Aldermanic leaders have been pushing hard to get the support of the Mayor for a mandatory, citywide set-aside ordinance. Recently re-introduced to City Council at a 15% setaside requirement, it is possible it will pass Cit Council during 2004.
Our continued monitoring of housing spending and production in Chicago has tracked the extent to which government dollars serve those most in need of housing. Affordable Chicago was produced in 2003 as an analysis of 1998-2003 City spending and made place-based policy recommendations that can assure that long-term residents can benefit from stable quality housing in their communities.
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