Dear Open Communities’ members, supporters & funders,
On behalf of the Board and Staff of Open Communities, I send you our best wishes for this holiday season and into the new year 2014.
We deeply value and appreciate your partnership. The housing crisis in the northern suburbs has worsened, and only in those suburbs where the electorate believes that an economically and racially diverse community is a healthy community are we seeing any movement for affordable housing. We know that most people favor affordable housing when they understand that it is the morally right thing to do and even the economically smart thing to do. But it needs home-grown advocates like Open Communities, with a 41-year track record of grassroots organizing and advocacy in its own north suburban back yard, to pull everyone together toward a common goal of full inclusion.
Thanks to your support, Open Communities is working as I write in multiple suburbs to shore up that electorate through grassroots organizing, community education about the benefits of inclusive, affordable, sustainable and diverse communities, and technical assistance to municipalities. We are building our membership across the board and working to change the North Shore “brand” from one of exclusion to one of warmth and welcome. (Please check out our new “We Are the North Shore” social media campaign and submit your photo! http://wearethenorthshore.tumblr.com/)
The new list of Illinois municipalities with less than 10% affordable housing was released by the Illinois Housing Development Authority earlier this week. It is up from 48 communities in 2004, when the list originally came out, to 68. All are in the Chicago suburbs. Please see the attached for the north suburban list, and Open Communities’ analysis and reaction. Feel free to contact me for further detail.
This list tells us that we have our work cut out for us in the new year. Not only have prices spiked, but incomes have gone down. We are very encouraged by the success thus far of “Wilmette Cares”, our newest grassroots campaign which is now working to save a 35-year-old housing subsidy program that supports the Village’s lowest-income seniors and people with disabilities (see this recent news story: http://wilmette.suntimes.com/news/houscomm-WIL-12192013:article) We need a “Wilmette Cares” in every suburb!
Once again, we appreciate your support and we look forward to working with you side by side in 2014 to make sure that our suburbs are welcoming of all, regardless of income, race, or disability.