CHICAGO – Recognizing the critical role affordable housing plays to the economy and quality of life in every Illinois community, Governor Blagojevich today signed an Executive Order to create a broad-based, integrated comprehensive plan to coordinate the effective creation of affordable housing across Illinois. A task force chaired by the Director of the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA), Kelly King Dibble, and composed of housing experts, developers and heads of state agencies, will develop the plan.
“The shortage of affordable housing poses a serious threat to the wellbeing of communities across the state. At every level – from business owners looking to attract workers, to seniors hoping to stay in their neighborhoods – affordable housing is key to the success of our communities,” said Gov. Blagojevich. “The Executive Order I’m signing today will allow the state to more effectively leverage its limited resources to promote a full range of quality housing options in every region of the state.”
“I want to thank Rep. Julie Hamos and Sen. Jeffrey Schoenberg for their long-standing leadership on this issue and their invaluable contributions to the creation of our affordable housing task force and plan,” the Governor added.
The Executive Order draws on the extensive work done by the Housing Committee of the Governor’s Transition Team and on hearings that State Representative Julie Hamos (D-Evanston), Chair of Housing and Urban Development Committee, held across the state. Many findings, goals and recommendations from the Task Force and the hearings are incorporated into the Executive Order.
The Executive Order identifies several underserved populations that the new plan should specifically address, including households earning below 50% of area median income (AMI) with an emphasis on those at 30% of AMI, seniors, people with disabilities, the homeless and those at risk of being homeless.
Beyond specific populations, the Executive Order identifies the preservation of existing affordable housing stock as an important goal for the State, as expiring programs allow many current affordable housing stock to be converted into market-rate developments. The Executive Order also asks the Task Force to confront the unique challenges rural poor populations face in finding affordable housing that is both adequate and proximate to employment.
The Executive Order also instructs the Task Force to coordinate and streamline the allocation of housing resources to better prioritize development in accordance with the Task Force’s annual plan.
Because coordinated efforts are fundamental to these goals, the heads of the Departments of Human Services, Aging, Public Health, Public Aid, Transportation, and Commerce and Economic Opportunity, as well as Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn and the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget will all be members of the task force. The Executive Order stipulates that the Vice Chair of the Task Force must be from the private sector to further ensure that private dollars are adequately leveraged. This position will be held by Robert Grossinger, Senior Vice President of LaSalle Bank. Congressman Bobby Rush, who chaired the Housing Committee of the Governor’s Transition Team, will also serve on the Task Force and provide an important link to the federal government’s resources.
The Task Force is made up of representatives from rural, suburban and urban communities. The full list of members is as follows:
Sue Augustus, Exec. Dir. of the Corporation for Supportive Housing, Chicago
Jean Butzen, Exec. Dir. of Lakefront Supportive Housing, Chicago
George Dinges, Pres. of Development Services Group/Vice Pres. of Illinois Equity Fund, Springfield
Bruce Gotschall, Exec. Dir. of Neighborhood Housing Services, Chicago
Robert Grossinger, Senior Vice Pres. of Community Development, La Salle Bank, Chicago
King Harris, Senior Exec. for Metropolis 2020, Chicago
Sharon Hess, Dir. of Southern Illinois Coalition for the Homeless, Marion
Brian Hollenback, Housing Dir. of Rock Island Economic Growth Corp., Rock Island
Juanita Irizarry, Exec. Dir. of Latinos United, Chicago
Cherita Logan, Exec. Dir. of Sankofa, Inc., Chicago
William Malleris, Pres. of Maple Court Development, Inc., Naperville
Jack Markowski, Commissioner for the City of Chicago Housing Dept.
U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, Chicago
Eloy Salazar, Exec. Dir. of Illinois Migrant Council, Chicago
Mayor Doug Scott, Rockford
Robin Snyderman, Housing Dir. for Metropolitan Planning Council, Chicago
Dr. Howard Stanback, Exec. Dir. of Leadership Council for Metro. Open Communities, Chicago
William Wilkins, Exec. Dir. of East St. Louis Housing Authority, East St. Louis
“If school teachers, police officers, sanitation workers and other vital members of a community can not afford to live near where they work, basic services become prohibitively expensive,” explained Kelly King Dibble. “Affordable housing does not just benefit lower-income populations, but is fundamental to a vibrant and healthy economy. I look forward to implementing the Governor’s vision on this vital issue that affects the fabric of our entire state.”
The Task Force will complete its annual housing plan by December 31 of each year, and will report to the Governor and General Assembly on its progress on April 1 of each year.