Coalition for Equitable Community Development
Promoting an Economically and Racially Diverse Community in Chicago's Hyde Park-Kenwood Neighborhood

 

 

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December 5 2007 CECD Housing Forum and Formation meeting

Prepared by Gary Ossewaarde from the Affordable Housing Steering Committee page in Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference's www.hydepark.org.

View/print in pdf Report: The State of Housing in Hyde Park by Kenneth Oliver, Interfaith Open Communities. Shared with HPKCC for sharing and distributed at the December 5 forum of Coalition for Equitable Community Development. Copyrighted material.

Here:

Hyde Park Herald announcement story
Report on the December 5 2007 CECD forum
Statement and Mission distributed
Key points from Ken Oliver's State of Housing in Hyde Park


Background Fall 2007: In October 20o7 Interfaith Open Communities won a major agreement with Antheus to keep the building north of its proposed 56th Cornell high rise affordable with frozen rents in perpetuity for existing tenants and guaranteed affordability for new tenants. This Affordable Housing Advocacy Committee of CECD is also engaging Ferdinand Leal of L3 and working with a UC student group and others seeking $100 m in state funds for affordable housing.

Affiliated Transitional Housing group has families that have graduated into transition into sustainable living. This group holds a benefit Taste of Hyde Park with participation of a dozen area restaurants at United Church, 1448 E. 53rd St., 6-9 February 23, Saturday. $30, $20.

Shortly before, Seminary Action made an agreement with MAC Properties for an affordable rental building for seminarians et al in the 1500 block of E. 54th St. and is purchasing a larger building. See in Affordability home.

Grove Parc was on the verge of victory with a new management firm taking charge of the complex and its redevelopment in conjunction with the Habitat Company.

 

Announcement in the Hyde Park Herald, December 5, 2007 by Daschell M. Philips.

A forum and inaugural meeting of the Coalition for Equitable Community Development will meet 7 p.m., Dec. 5 at the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club, 5480 S. Kenwood Ave., to discuss the state of affordable housing in Hyde Park.

According to the 2000 Census report, 16.5 percent of the Hyde Park population lived below the poverty level and the median household income was bout $36,000. As of 200, Hyde Park has had a loss of 465 units of rental housing and the number of owner-occupied units has double from 25 to 32 percent. The value of owner-occupied housing in the area has risen by 15 percent between 1993 and 2002. Since 2000 the community has lost 228 units of project-based Section 8 housing.

"Many of HYde Park's fixed-income residents are being displaced because they are losing their rental properties to developers who want to build luxury condominiums," said Pat Wilcoxen, program director of Interfaith Open Communities. In the past, Interfaith Open Communities staff have spoken to developers about preserving affordable housing and they've mad some concession,s but Wilcoxen said more work needs to be done.

Wilcoxen said that he Coalition for Equitable Community Development, which is incorporated but awaiting 501c(3) status, is holding the forum to remind residents of the importance of preserving economic diversity in Hyde Park and to acquire more founding members for the coalition. "We need to have a large, organized group to take on the developers and governing officials," said Wilcoxen.

The guest speaker for the event will be Joanna Trotter, manager of the county building initiative at the Metropolitan Planning Council. Wilcoxen said that Trotter is a good person to come speak to the group because she is also a Hyde Park resident.

Currently there are about 30 members of the Coalition for Equitable Development, which is sponsored by Interfaith Open Communites-Hyde Park Cluster; Hyde Park-Kenwood Older Women's League; Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference; Hyde Park [and] Kenwood Interfaith Council, Peace & Social Concerns Committee; 57th Street Meeting of Friends; First Unitarian Church Racial Justice Committee; and First Unitarian Church Social Justice Council.

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Report on the inaugural meeting and forum of the Coalition for Equitable Community Development in Hyde Park and Kenwood, December 5, 2007, HP Neighborhood Club

By Gary Ossewaarde

Agenda:

Introduction and Welcome- John Murphy, Moderator. Recognition of the steering Committee, Purpose of meeting

State of Affordable Housing in Chicago- Joanna Trotter, MPO

State of Affordable Housing in Hyde Park-Kenwood- Ken Oliver, IOC (handout)

Presentation of the new Coalition - Pat Wilcoxen Steering Committee Chair

Why we need a new organization in Hyde Park
The mission and focus of CECD
The structure-Membership driven
Next steps

Public Questions and Comment

Call for Membership- George Rumsey, HPKCC; distribution of forms

The meeting was convened by the Affordable Housing Steering Committee, now incorporated as the Coalition for Equitable Community Development and applying for 501©3 status, at 7 pm December 5 at the Neighborhood Club. John Murphy of Interfaith Open Communities presided. Murphy gave background and meeting purpose, and recognized the Steering Committee and the many organizations and individuals who have given help. The object is to advocate, educate and facilitate so that people can stay and be secure in their homes and in the neighborhood they know. Threats to this include loss of homes, being forced out by high rents and taxes, and increasing realty prices.

Joanna Trotter of the Metropolitan Planning Council’s Community Building Initiative described the State of Affordable Housing in Chicago. Among facts noted:
· There are diverse housing options but there is major income segregation in Chicago resulting in large areas where there is little affordable housing, access to transit and services, and where housing standards are poor.
· The market is working against reversing these trends and against providing housing that can be afforded to people in fast-growing categories.
· The CHA Plan for Transformation is a mixed bag in the midst of these problems. MPO and others seek to push it in directions that increase opportunities.
· The foreclosure wave shows that present trends and patterns of housing growth, toward the high end and condominiums, are not sustainable. Rents are starting to rise steeply.
· Even wealthy suburbs now acknowledge these problems and have inclusionary housing ordinances. And employers such as the U of C are setting up workforce housing options, including tax credits and direct investments.
· Chicago passed an inclusionary housing ordinance. If a developer wants incentives from the city, a percentage of affordable units must be set side.
· Planning organizations are preparing for a changing region. The growing sectors are Latinos, Aging, people seeking smaller units or affordable large-family units. But under present trends, little new housing for these people will be built by 2030.
· In fact we are losing affordable units—47% of 535,000 units in the region are rental; only half of these affordable. 78,000 of the affordable units will be lost by 2020.
· One growing trend to counteract these trends is the Preservation Compact, developed by the Urban Land Institute and the McArthur Foundation.

Ken Oliver of Interfaith Open Communities briefly described 2 new state laws that greatly increase state efforts and reinforce city efforts towards affordability: Tax Credits and Tax Abatement

Oliver introduced a report he and an intern prepared on the State of Housing in Hyde Park, acknowledging the difficulty of gathering and comparing data since the 2000 Census. He worked with the U of C Law School, which has studied the state of housing subsidies in our neighborhood –what they are, where, the future of each, and whether it is stable, at risk, or lost. He noted Hyde Park’s relative stability, including its diversity, since 1970 compared to other parts of the city. There has been a decline in population (reversing slowly since 1990),—the number per households has shrunk but there is the same number of households. The number of African Americans has drawn nearly even with whites (both now under 50 percent) with increasing numbers of Spanish and Asians. The number of rental units has gone down sharply since 1970 and ownership gone up, much of it on the high or upper middle class end.

Of 1155 subsidized units still existing here in 2000 (including tax credits, Section 8, and limited equity cooperative), 228 have been lost since and 211 are at risk, which includes those whose contracts are expiring. Together this is 439 or 40% in seven years. Oliver said this poses a threat to economic diversity. He said Hyde Park is threatened by its own success. Much of the pressure is from condo conversions. But all across the board there is pressure—25 percent pay 50 percent or more of their pretax income for housing, generally considered a tipping point. He concluded that subsidies are coming to an end, rents are rising, and so are taxes on both owner-occupied and rental units. He also noted that Antheus owns 28,000 units.

John Murphy, introducing Coalition leader Pat Wilcoxen, also of Interfaith Open Communities, , commented that the steering committee is hoping for a breathing spell in which strategies can be developed to deal with developers and promote affordability. He said that the Coalition is not opposed to change and recognizes the trends, but seeks a balance for those who have been here.

Pat Wilcoxen talked about the new organization, giving background. No one was monitoring the situation or dealing with developers. Older Women’s League (OWL) members urged Interfaith Open Communities to start the ball rolling. This snowballed into a number of organizat9ions joining the call for a large workshop held April 29, 2007 A resultant Task Force worked with the recommendations of the workshop, reached out to more stakeholders and possible creators of affordable housing, and convened another forum May 19, 2007. The later passed a mission statement, mandated the new community organization and a Steering Committee to implement it. The May 19 meeting created a mission mandate, implemented under the aegis of Interfaith Open Communities.

The object now is participation--to marshal as many organizations and groups as possible and a large body of members. This will show strength and community interest to developers, officeholders and stakeholders; raise money; and create a base for electing a board and officers at a conclave in late winter or early spring and to start programs. She said the interests of the organization will interlock with many other community concerns and interest groups. She said that not only is there much to be researched but also a large number of landlords, developers, and housing consumer lack vital information including new laws, programs and subsidies available, for informed decision making.

Wilcoxen and Murphy said the purpose is information assembly and dissemination and direct advocacy and negotiation, but not “bricks and mortar.” (Some participants said they want that option explored.) Again she stressed that the CECD is to be member-based, with dues priced to bring in numbers but members welcome to contribute more. The organization cannot have a staff for some time, so volunteers and committees will also be important.

Question and Answer
At this point. the first of many questions was asked concerning exploration of strategies, most of which have been pursued or are on the table-- here this case recycling existing buildings that might otherwise go condo or be town down or commercial development (Shoreland, Doctors Hospital….) for reuse of inclusion of affordable units.

Wilcoxen said that using existing assets is important, and will fill a gap left by the city’s inclusionary ordinance-which only covers new construction, and only under certain circumstances. A large membership is key to having bargaining pressure. She noted a major success in perpetuating affordability in the building north of the 56th Cornel development, but this was because of opportune circumstances and the developer (Eli Ungar of Antheus Capital and MAC Properties) was very receptive. (present tenants will have rents raised by only market amounts and new tenants with income below 60 percent mean income will be allowed; these are permanent parts of t he property title. She also said that Antheus is including a jobs (pre-apprenticeship) jobs program under Building Bridges. She also noted that certain Zoning provisions were said by Ungar to work against affordable units; Zoning may need revisit from this and other perspectives.

Wilcoxen, Murphy and Oliver said that much as South Side communities need to work together, they want any affordable set aside units to be created in this community and not exported.

David Nekimken described the Qumbya cooperative buildings, which led to discussion of many types of home sharing options that make the participants stakeholders. Noted were some problems with viable home sharing and transitional housing, and the initiatives of Lawyers for Better Housing.

Questions were raised about the role of the University of Chicago as a land and housing buyer and landlord, often for people needing affordable housing, and the University agenda and criteria in buying and operating housing.

Oliver said much of this is unknown and on this and other housing issues we need organizations and resources, including members in block clubs and on every block. Some web means to gather part of the information were suggested: metro.com, mcic.com. Cook County tax assessments and the Civic Knowledge Project, which could bring students, were also suggested. Grove Parc, a threatened HUD housing project on just southwest of Hyde Park, was said by reps to use The Coalition for Alternative (Uses?) based in Boston.

Another question was about limited equity cooperatives, such as the large Harper Square. More promising, Robin Kaufman suggested, was establishing a proactive means to find out what affordable or potentially affordable properties may be about to go on the market and are vulnerable to conversion or loss. This should include, she said, some kind of responsible organization to buy the property and make and keep it an affordable building. She suggested using or something like the city vehicle, land trusts

Joe Marlin suggested expanding the concept to include affordable commercial and community spaces, which certainly have a impact on viability of affordable housing. This led to more discussion of developing interest-based programs and initiatives that overlap and thus draw allies and participants whose primary mission may be in another topic.

George Rumsey, Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference President an membership chair of CECD made a rousing appeal for members. He cited an appeal by long-time activist and former HPKCC president George Cooley to make affordable housing in Hyde Park a priority, pointing to the large number of employees of 53d street businesses who can only afford to live above their place of business at rents that take up most of their income. Rumsey referenced the HPKCC mission statement, saying that there is nothing more “caring” or “diverse” than being able to live here

Rumsey said checks should be made out to and sent to Interfaith Open Communities with memo on the check for Coalition for Equitable Community Development.

Adjournment.

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Statement distributed with agenda

Background
On April 29, 2006, the Hyde Park-Kenwood Interfaith Open Communities (IOC/H) and Older Women's League (OWL) convened a community meeting to address the housing needs of the HydePark and South Kenwood communities. The meeting called for long term solutions to address the rising cost of housing and the displacement of long time residents due to lack of affordable housing. A task force was created to research forming a community development organization.

The task force explored various options for addressing the community's needs, holding meetings with community leaders and experienced professionals representing different types of community organizations. It conducted conversations with the local aldermen (4th and 5gh wards), University of Chicago officials, the South East Chicago Commission, the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference, the Hyde Park-Kenwood Interfaith Council, and the Kenwood Community Conservation Council.

On May 19, 2007, a community forum was held to consider the report and recommendations of that task force. At that meeting it was decided:

  1. That a community organization be established that would engage residents, faith communities, organizations and businesses in an effort to plan, guide, support, and monitor housing and community activities that will maintain or create a sustainable, healthy, mixed income community of Hyde Park-Kenwood.
  2. That a Steering Committee be created whose purpose was to create this new community organization. Membership on the committee included representatives from the sponsoring organizations, the business community, the university, civic organizations and the faith community.

The mission of the Coalition for Equitable Community development shall be to convene residents, faith-based communities, civic, educational, an social organizations and the business community in planning, guiding, and monitoring housing and related activities that wil support the maintenance of an economically and racially diverse community in Hyde Park and South Kenwood.

Key points from Ken Oliver's State of Housing in Hyde Park

By Kenneth Oliver, research by Anne King, Interfaith Open Communities.[Abstraction here by Gary Ossewaarde]

Housing units in Hyde Park peaked at 27,000 in 1950 and plunged between 1960 and 1970 to about 18,500. Almost all of this drop was in rental units (25.000 to 18,000)-- losing mostly substandard units. Because of the reduction, Hyde Park avoided the steep housing and economic depression suffered in surrounding communities and (the author states a connection) remained stable and very diverse. (See different figures below).

Hyde Park population [65,000 HPK in 1960 and 44,000 in 1990] in 2000 wa 29.920 up 12.90 over 1990 but stilt down 11% or 3,639 from 1970. Households are 14,360, about the same as in as 1970 but average household size went from 2.2 to 2.0.

RACE 2000 Census 1970 Census
White 43.5% 64.1%
African-American 37.7 31.1
Hispanic 4.1 2.6
Asian 11.3 4.8
Other 3.4 n/m

16.5% is below the poverty line vs. 12.4 nationally and 19.6 Chicago. 2.3% now receive public aid, vs 7.2% in 1980.
Median household income $35,991 vs Chicago median $38,625 and metropolitan $67,900
15,227 housing units, a los of 465 since 1970. Vacancy rate was 5.6 vs twice that in 1970.
4,551 units are owner-occupied and 9,809 rental (twice a many) but owner occupied increased 15% to 32% of total housing units. This is the biggest change.

Property value of owner-occupied units has risen by 154% 1993 to 2002 and 25% 1998-2002.
Renters: half pay over 30% of gross income for housing (a healthy upper limit) and 25% more than 50%.

Options for moderate and low income people in Hyde Park have diminished and housing costs risen.

Subsidized rental housing is clearly in decline. Figures analyzed included South Kenwood.
Of 1,210 subsidized units, plus 296 vouchers in private buildings, 927 ar low income family, including 462 Project-based Section 8. Breakdown:
Section 8 Project based 462
Elderly and Disabled (202/811) 187
Federal Tax Credit 138
State and city programs 705
Other HUD 338
Section 8 Voucher 296.

The shrunken subsidized family housing in Hyde Park has gone from 1,555 units in 2000 to 927 in 2007 (40%) and the trend continues.
Units (family subsidized) lost since 2000- 228 (19.7%)
Units at risk -211 (18.2)

Most of the recent loss is in Project-based Section 8 contracts that the owner did not renew. Significant contracts with Section 8 are about to expire. Projects have HUD -insured mortgages about to expire or reach pay-off date or are eligible for pre-payment. There may be more.

Conclusion:

"Today, the diversity of Hyde Park is threatened by its own success. The loss of rental housing, and especially the loss of subsidized renal housing, has brought added pressure to working families and seniors in the community. Rising rents, together with a tight rental market, result in low and moderate income residents paying higher and higher percentages of their income to stay in the community. Unless a strong effort is made to reverse the current trends, the Hyde Park of tomorrow may lose the very qualities that make it such a unique and integrated community today."

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