Reports from the Coalition for Equitable Community Development February 28 2009 Forum,
"What makes housing Affordable, with State and Federal updates.

This page is presented by Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference and its website hydepark.org.

CECD Website. HPKCC's CECD home. Affordable Housing Information home. The principle handouts will be in in a Recovery Act and Proposed Legislation page.

 

Pat Wilcoxen's (CECD President) letter to the Herald (March 4, 2009)

Coalition shedding light on affordable housing crisis in Hyde Park

Our community is facing a crisis that is affecting both homeowners and renters. The federal stimulus will help, but the state needs $100 million capital investment in affordable housing to fully leverage these resources.

The Coalition for Equitable Community Development held a community forum on Saturday, Feb. 28 about the impact of the federal stimulus and the state budget on affordable housing in the Hyde Park-Kenwood community. Bob Palmer, policy director for Housing Action Illinois, was the guest speaker. Housing Action Illinois is a statewide public policy and advocacy organization that promotes affordable housing.

The Coalition for Equitable Community Development is composed of residents, civic organizations and religious congregations that are concerned about preserving the economic diversity and affordability of our community. Vice President John Murphy issued a call for all residents who are concerned about these issues to join the coalition.

Bob Palmer discussed how the housing crisis affects Hyde Park and what is being done to address the problem. While much of the media attention has been on homeowners losing their property through foreclosure, Palmer pointed out that renters are also at risk. When a landlord defaults on his or her mortgage, the bank in the foreclosure sale has the power to evict all of the tenants - even if they have leases and are current on their rent payments. His organization finds that this is frequently the case. Bankers often do not have the capacity or willingness to manage the apartments and prefer the building to be vacant for resale. The majority of residents in Hyde Park are renters.

More money is coming from the federal government for affordable housing and homeowners. Unfortunately, the state's financial problems may prevent us from taking full advantage of that help. The two largest sources of state money for affordable housing are the Affordable Housing Trust Fund and the Rental Support Program, and both of these state funds have seen a dramatic drop in revenues. The solution, according to Palmer, is a new state capital program that includes affordable housing along with other infrastructure investments. His organization is calling for the state to invest $100 million dollars per year over a five year period in affordable housing.

To find more information or to find out how to get involved, go to the coalition website at hpkcoalition.org.

Meeting summary

By Gary Ossewaarde

 

The meeting was opened by President Pat Wilcoxen at 10:05 am. Purpose and activities of the organization were described and the slate was introduced and ballot distributed. There being no additional nominations for the board, ballots were marked and collected. Joan Staples was nominated as an additional member of the nominating committee (to be elected by the board).

Wilcoxen read a tribute to Winston Kennedy, who recently passed away and who started this organization.

Ken Oliver of Interfaith Open Communities elaborated on the tie between affordability/cost of housing and community diversity. And Vice President John Murphy called for all residents interested in affordability and economic diversity to work with us.

George Rumsey gave the Membership Committee report.

Linda Thisted gave the Affordable Housing Advocacy (AHA) Committee report. She described meetings and progress with developers. She described the Olympics Community Development Agreement introduced in City Council by Alderman Preckwinkle, with nominal support from 27 alderpersons. It now includes 30% affordable unit set aside in the Olympic Village slated for the Michael Reese property. Transportation is also included. She noted there will be a rally March 7, Saturday, 11 am at Sixth Grace Presbyterian, 600 E. 35th St. (Michigan). She also reported on including the Gold Line as an Olympic legacy.

This led to more general audience comments, including that the Olympic proposal seems vague on impacts and plans for transportation, housing and that ours lacks much commitment to environmental or social sustainability.

Another said that we are drifting into unwanted change, density, unaffordability-- whether from developers, property managers, or government. Another countered that there are many views about managing density.

Another said we must involve the next generation including students, who have different interests and new technology and that past planning hasn't seemed to work well or has produced few results. . Membership chair George Rumsey pointed out that last year's online survey on 53rd Street drew heavily from a younger demographic, and this was attached to the Harper RFP.

Mark Granfors, Research chair, called for volunteers and money for research projects including a survey of housing stock and demand. He noted we may have to buy expert services. The committee has been working with such organizations with models.

The keynote address was given by Bob Palmer, Policy Director, Housing Action Illinois (http://www.HousingMatters.net). Handouts (below) were distributed. Title: Where is the money coming from for affordable housing: the impact of Federal and State actions. Including the federal stimulus, turmoil and proposals in Springfield.

Palmer Described HAC as a coalition of community organizations seeking especially support to obtain and fund state programs.

Palmer said that in the 2000 census, one third of Illinoisans already paid more that the recommended 30% of annual income for housing. Housing, he said, is a basic human right and need.

A major problem now is that many renters are affected by foreclosure on rental buildings. Illinois has the sixth highest foreclosure rate. At the start of 2008, 10-15 percent, 100% above 2007. One third of those in the city are in 2-6 unit buildings. Renters therefore need tools because in Illinois most leases do NOT outlive a foreclosure, and banks find it easier, due to liability, staffing et al to just evict. This complicates matters by overloading the rental stock and pushing the most stressed families toward homelessness, although most are finding somewhere else to live. But once "evicted" is on the record, it is hard to rent a place and maintain credit standing. Rented out foreclosed condo units is another matter.

Illinois has some help for stressed renters and owners but it is underfunded, as are services. HAC would like to see housing included in the capital budget. remember such funds do not go far, with costs per unit about $250,000. They are asking $100 million over 5 years and calling it infrastructure investment. Hearings will be held around the state in March and April.

Most of the new Federal housing provisions are being made by executive order. These include loan modifications--which needs incentives or judges given power if it's to happen so that payments can be meaningfully reduced. The stimulus has formulas states have to follow.

Palmer then went over legislation being sought by the Illinois Housing Roundtable 2009 Initiatives, Highlights of H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan. These are summarized in another page.

Results of the election were announced.
For 3-year terms: Allison Hartman, Karen Robinson, Linda Thisted, Pat Wilcoxen
For 2-year terms: Mark Granfors, Rahsaan Morris, John Murphy, Gary Ossewaarde
For 1-year terms: Lenora Austin, Margaret Kennedy, George Rumsey

The meeting was duly adjourned.