Part one of a three-part special on affordable housing in Chicago, Cook County, and Illinois
Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) to receive the bulk of the nearly $65 million dollars in federal funding for development, financing, and modernization being allocated to the local housing authorities. The funds will be coming through a capital program of the U.S. Department of Housing and Development.
This federal funding is an investment in the infrastructure projects that will improve the local economy. It plays a crucial role in the modernization and safety of the public housing of the US. HUD responds to the affordability of rental housing through Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) to provide safe, decent, and sanitary houses to the residents.
“This federal funding gives local agencies in the Chicagoland region the ability to offer safe and affordable housing to those who need it most,” U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin said in a joint news release with U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth. “In addition, the local economy stands to benefit from this investment in infrastructure projects that will bring safety and modernization to the area’s public housing.”
The influx of federal funds to CHA comes shortly after Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s appointment of Angela Hurlock in September to chair the board of commissioners of the Chicago Housing Authority. Hurlock is the first affordable housing practitioner appointed to the CHA board in a decade. She is said to be a forceful advocate for developers including housing affordable for existing residents — one of the demands was that affordability standards be based not on the regional median income but on the average income in the community — insisting that community concerns are taken into account.
CHA’s strong financial position would allow it to “initiate a major new acquisition and construction program” that could add as much as 2,000 affordable units to the city’s housing stock and Leah Levinger of the Chicago Housing Initiative. It would be “the most direct way” to begin to fulfill the administration’s promises.
The Chicago Housing Authority has been moving away from its role as a direct housing provider. Opting to oversees subsidized housing in the private market. Which many note is not helping in the reduction of racial and economic segregation.
Other recipients of the federal funding in the local areas include housing authorities in Joliet, Aurora, North Chicago, Waukegan, Kankakee, and Oak Park.
LaToya Wright, Contributing Writer