Coalition for Equitable Community Development
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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
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.
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.
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
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
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:
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
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.
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:
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.
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.
16.5% is below the poverty
line vs. 12.4 nationally and 19.6 Chicago. 2.3% now receive public aid, vs 7.2%
Property value of owner-occupied
units has risen by 154% 1993 to 2002 and 25% 1998-2002.
Options for moderate and low income people in Hyde Park have diminished and housing costs risen.
housing is clearly in decline. Figures
analyzed included South Kenwood.
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.
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.
"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."