Goal: Preserve Neighborhood Diversity - Recommendation 1: Maintain Housing Affordability, Choice, and Quality

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McKinley Park’s variety of housing types allows for people of different socioeconomic and racial/ethnic backgrounds to live in the neighborhood, thereby contributing to McKinley Park’s identity. While housing costs have increased since the 2008 recession, McKinley Park prices remain low compared to other neighborhoods in Chicago. Preserving and creating opportunities for housing affordability, choices, and quality will help attract new residents and protect existing residents against market pressures that could burden or displace them.

Form a neighborhood coalition to coordinate housing advocacy

To tackle a complex challenge like housing affordability, a community needs stakeholders who are energized, committed, and coordinated. McKinley Park has the advantage of having many passionate residents and advocates who are involved in numerous community organizations. MPDC should establish a housing coalition to guide the community’s work on housing affordability, choices, and quality. Communities United has organized stakeholders from a variety of Chicago neighborhoods to work for equity and social justice, including in the housing sector. MPDC should partner with Communities United to form a neighborhood coalition that can organize and coordinate key stakeholders who seek to preserve and expand housing affordability.

This new MPDC housing coalition should include a broad set of stakeholders to address the many issues outlined in this chapter. MPDC should work with Community United and other local housing advocates, such as The Resurrection Project and Greater Southwest Development Corporation, and to identify stakeholders who could be added to the committee to ensure it draws on the expertise and local knowledge required to implement this plan’s recommendations. This coalition will provide a platform that leverages the combined resources, knowledge, and energy of organizations and institutions to implement the recommendations described in this plan. It would also demonstrate the community’s broad, organized support for affordable housing, which can make developers and elected officials more confident in siting new affordable housing developments in the neighborhood.

3800 block of South Paulina Street west side Chicago 20190809From "Single-Family Home Sale Sets New Neighborhood Price Record," published August 9, 2019, in the McKinley Park NewsThe Equitable Transit-Oriented Development chapter of this plan (Chapter 4) also recommends that neighborhood stakeholders form a coalition of community organizations, local businesses, affordability advocates, and public sector stakeholders to advocate for the community’s vision for equitable development. Ideally, the same group — a strategically expanded MPDC housing coalition — could serve both functions. Nonetheless, taking on the formation of this coalition will be a demanding task, and MPDC should seek grants or other assistance to help enhance their capacity to coordinate the project. The Chicago Community Trust, Enterprise Community Partners, mission-driven community financial institutions, and philanthropic foundations with a focus on equity may be able to support this work.

Advocate for the protection and production of on-site affordable units

The City has a number of tools in place to help preserve and produce affordable housing units. One tool is the Affordable Requirements Ordinance (ARO), which requires residential developers that receive financial assistance, city-owned land, or a zoning change to provide a percentage of units at affordable prices. In 2019, the Chicago Department of Housing (DOH) created an Inclusionary Housing Task Force with members of diverse backgrounds to inform how affordable housing is created throughout Chicago. 1 The culmination of the ARO Task Force, focus groups, public meetings, public comment, and the City’s budget and policy priorities is expected to result in a revised ordinance in 2021.

MPDC’s new housing coalition should monitor current and future change in the ARO to advocate for the creation of more on-site affordable housing in new developments. Moreover, the housing coalition should monitor the implementation of the ARO in McKinley Park to assess its impacts. Finally, the housing coalition should maintain regular communication with community stakeholders and work with the alderman to incentivize or require the construction of affordable units on site.

Work with DPD to tailor existing city-wide programs to meet the needs of residents of McKinley Park

During the community engagement process, discussion took place regarding ways in which existing housing programs could assist residents as they purchase, repair, and rehabilitate properties that have deferred maintenance. The following programs often require a period of occupancy and are limited to low- and moderate-income households.

  • Owner-Occupied Repair Programs to Assist with Deferred Maintenance
    These programs help existing owners remain in their one- to four-unit homes while addressing health and safety repairs, improving energy efficiency, and increasing household affordability. The program can also be used to improve rental units on the property so long as they are rented affordably. This program often requires a period of occupancy and is limited to low- and moderate-income households.
  • Purchase Assistance Program for Owner-Occupant Homebuyers
    This program provides purchase assistance for occupant homebuyers purchasing a one-to-four unit home. Funds can be used to assist with the acquisition of the property. This program often requires a period of occupancy and is limited to low- and moderate-income households.
  • Purchase Rehab Assistance Programs for Owner-Occupant Homebuyers
    Homes with extensive deferred maintenance, or those in need of repair, often require a “purchase rehab loan” to acquire the property. This federal program provides rehab assistance for occupant homebuyers purchasing a one- to four-unit home in need of extensive renovation. This program often requires a period of occupancy and is limited to low- and moderate- income households.
  • Chicago Community Land Trust for Buyers
    Chicago Community Land Trust (CCLT) was founded in 2006 to address the increasingly limited supply of funding for affordable housing. The goal of the CCLT is to preserve long-term affordability of homes, created through City programs, and maintain a permanent pool of homeownership opportunities for working families. The CCLT maintains a resale pool of homeownership opportunities for working families. Properties purchased through the trust often require a period of 30-year occupancy and are limited to low- and moderate-income households.

The most current list of housing programs can be found online at www.cityofchicago.org/DPD.

Other strategies:

  • Increase MPDC’s capacity to engage the community, support and market small businesses, and lead the community to better respond to development proposals. See Chapter 4 for ideas on how to accomplish this strategy.
  • Work with key partners like the City of Chicago and the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) to identify opportunities to implement inclusive and supportive housing initiatives.
  • Pursue a targeted historic resource inventory to explore increasing the number of properties protected by historic preservation rules.2

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