Affordable Housing Myths
Research has shown that if affordable housing is designed well and placed in mixed-income communities, it can be virtually indistinguishable from market-rate housing. Studies have also found that proximity to affordable housing developments does not necessarily have a negative effect on housing values.
Homeownership/Renter Trends: 1970-2014
- The total number of housing units has increased
- Vacancy rates have dropped for homeownership and rentals
- Diversity of housing type is declining, e.g.building more single-family homes
- New housing is generally not affordable to low-to-moderate income households/individuals
- Some developers cite complex financing, low interest loans, and appropriate space as reasons not to build affordable housing
- Some communities have acknowledged the need for affordable housing for seniors, public employees, individuals and families who live and work within their communities.
The following questions may help generate positive dialogue about affordable housing:
- What are some of the overarching renting and/or lending trends in these communities?
- Have costs of rent and mortgages changed over the past 45 years?
- How are state and local governments or housing agencies creating avenues to affordable housing for low-to-moderate income earners, accounting for an average Housing Wage of $18.92?
- How can communities plan for mixed-income equitable housing near public transit?
- Do all protected classes have the same access to fair and affordable housing?
- What are some long-term policy plans that would include the development of affordable housing within these communities?
Faithful Action for Fair & Affordable Housing: Interfaith Advocacy Curriculum for Chicago’s Northern Suburbs
Making sure that every human being is housed with dignity is essential to every religious tradition.
How does faith require us to act as individuals, families and faith groups within our communities?
In 2011, Open Communities worked with a committee of religious leaders of several faiths in Chicago’s northern suburbs to create a curriculum for any congregation to use to promote understanding of fair and affordable housing. Designed as a series of five ninety-minute sessions, it includes readings from six faith traditions and interactive case studies and exercises for congregants of all ages.
Open Communities is pleased to release this curriculum to all. We encourage you to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for any assistance in presenting this material. And please let us know how your sessions went!
The Five-Session Journey
Session 1 Sets the Stage
Before embarking on the specific issue of housing, a theological context for the primacy of community and of welcome are set.
Session 2 is the “What.”
Fair and affordable housing is defined in this primarily instructional segment. A resource person from Open Communities or similar housing organization will assist.
Session 3 is the “Why.”
With the first two sessions having brought participants to an understanding of community and specifics about housing, this session expresses the religious underpinnings for action for housing justice. How do different faith traditions address housing? What is different and what do they have in common? A panel of religious leaders will share their teachings.
Session 4 is the “How.”
What can people, working as individuals or in a group, do to further fair and affordable housing? What are the options for action?
Session 5 is the “Call to Action.”
Finally, what will we choose to do? What concrete steps will we as individuals or as a group commit to doing? The timeframe would be specified by the individual or congregation in this session as well.
Each session is designed to encompass the following:
Reflection: What does it mean to do justice as guided by my faith?
Study: What is fair and affordable housing? What are the housing challenges in the northern suburbs of Chicago, Illinois, and in my community?
Action: What can I do? What can my congregation do? What are we pledging to do henceforth?
We end this series of sessions with a joyful celebration of accomplishment in learning, spiritual growth, and commitment to ourselves and others.
- Participants' Version
- Facilitator Version
- Appendices Only
- Handouts Only
- Sample Flyer
- Sample Evaluation Form
- Special: For Session 1, Transcript of excerpts from the documentary "Metropolitan Avenue" (1988). Used by Permission. Links to the three video clips on Open Communities' YouTube channel are in the transcript document.
- Reducing the Cost of Crime Free: Alternative Strategies to Crime Free/Nuisance Property Ordinances in Illinois co-authored with the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law
- Quality of Life, Equality of Place a guidebook co-authored with the Center for Neighborhood Technology on combining environmentally-conscious and socially-conscious goals through transit-oriented development that includes mixed-income housing
- Importance of Diverse Communities
- Housing Affordability Worsens (Press Release, January 3, 2014)
- Open to All? Different Cultures, Same Communities
- Census 2010 Data on Race in Chicago's Northern Suburbs (Press Release, February 9, 2012)
- Outsider Perspectives on Chicago’s Northern Suburbs (with the UIC Voorhees Center)
- Fair Housing and Homeowners or Condo Associations
- Fair Housing and Mobile Homes
- Fair Housing and Disabilities
- Fair Housing and Design & Construction Requirements
- Fair Housing and Domestic Violence
- Fair Housing and Older Adults
- Fair Housing and Immigrants
- History of Equal Housing in Chicago's Northern Suburbs
- Suggested Reading List: Adults
- Suggested Reading List: Kids
- Suggested Movie List
- What is Affordable Housing?
- Common Myths About Affordable Housing
- Affordable Housing Fact Sheet
- Tools for Affordable Housing
- The Jobs Housing Mismatch
- Affordable Housing Powerpoint
- Action Steps for Congregations
- Planning a Fair Housing Religious Service
- Business and Professional People for the Public Interest Seeks to increase the supply of affordable housing for moderate- to very low-income families.
- Chicago Area Fair Housing Alliance An alliance of organizations in the Chicago area that strive to eliminate discrimination and harassment, and work to promote racial diversity and fair housing.
- Community Partners for Affordable Housing Community-owned non-profit that develops and manages affordable housing.
- HUD Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Information about the enforcement of the Fair Housing Act. This site provides information on the Act and an on-line discrimination complaint form.
- Housing Action Illinois Works to increase and preserve the supply of affordable, accessible housing in Illinois.
- Housing Matters Mobilizes support for quality, fair, accessible, affordable housing in Illinois. Provides periodic action alerts and a quick way to send e-mails to elected officials.
- Illinois Department of Human Rights Responsible for administering the Illinois Human Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, credit, public access and education.
- Illinois Housing Development Authority Responsible for increasing Illinois' affordable housing stock; includes homebuyer re sources and a few resources for renters.
- National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) is a consortium of more than 220 private, non-profit fair housing organizations (including the Interfaith Housing Center), state and local civil rights agencies, and individuals from throughout the United States.
- National Housing Conference Advocacy for affordable housing, operating at the national level to conduct and publicize research on housing policies and issues related to affordable housing.
- National Low Income Housing Coalition Dedicated to ending the affordable housing crisis.
- Cook County Legal Assistance Foundation - Provides assistance to income- or age-qualifying households.
- A Tenant's Guide to Lease Agreements - From ManageMyProperty.com
- Illinois Legal Aid - Includes a form in which you can enter a question related to legal issues, such as housing discrimination, landlord/tenant disputes, or predatory lending.
- Metropolitan Tenants Organization - Operates a tenants' rights hotline, trains community-based organizations, organize buildings and participates in affordable housing advocacy campaigns.
- Prairie State Legal Services - Offers free legal services for seniors and low income persons.
- Center for Responsible Lending Works to preserve homeownership and family wealth through investigation of predatory lending practices.
- City of Evanston Foreclosure Counseling Provides information for Evanston Residents about foreclosure prevention counseling and education.
- Department of Housing and Urban Development Provides tips for preventing foreclosure.
- HUD Certified Housing Counseling Agencies in Illinois
- Cook County Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program Established by the Circuit Court of Cook County, the Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program's goal is to deliver critical services to Cook County homeowners in crisis as early as possible once the foreclosure process begins. As part of the program, homeowners who have received a summons to appear in court will have access to housing counseling and legal assistance at no charge. Open Communities is participating in this program as an Outreach Agency, through The Chicago Community Trust, which is administering the program for the County. With the support and information provided through the mediation program, homeowners in foreclosure will be able to explore their options to either stay in their homes or negotiate a respectable exit.
- If you are at risk of foreclosure or are having trouble paying your mortgage, visit the Governor’s Illinois Foreclosure Prevention Network website at www.keepyourhomeillinois.org The Network is a FREE, one-stop resource that links homeowners to state agencies and non-profit organizations that offer services designed to keep people in their homes. This includes the homeownership counseling or free legal advice offered by this agency as well as other help including temporary mortgage assistance.
- Don’t be a victim of loan scams! As foreclosures rise, so do the numbers of loan modification scammers preying on homeowners in need. They will promise to modify your loan, then they will take your money, house, or both. Avoid their deceiving schemes by speaking to a trusted HUD-approved counselor such as the Open Communities. With HUD you have the power to stop them. File a complaint. Call 1-888-995-HOPE (4673) or visit www.hud.gov/preventloanscams
- Woodstock Institute Works to develop policy that levels the financial services playing field and ensures that families have the opportunity to build wealth through fair credit practices.