FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Gail Schechter, Executive Director, Interfaith Housing Center of the Northern Suburbs 614 Lincoln Avenue, Winnetka, IL 60093-2308 Phone: 847-501-5760 Fax: 847-501-5722 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org web site: www.interfaithhousingcenter.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, OCTOBER 22, 2012:
Creating a Comfort Zone : Promoting Chicago’s North Shore as welcoming is top fair housing task
Winnetka, Illinois, October 22, 2012: Residents outside Chicago’s northern suburbs continue to perceive the area to be white, affluent, and closed, according to focus groups conducted earlier this year by the Interfaith Housing Center of the Northern Suburbs and the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Nathalie P. Voorhees Center for Neighborhood and Community Improvement.
“An open community requires more than the enforcement of fair housing laws,” concludes Gail Schechter, Executive Director of Interfaith, the area’s fair housing enforcement organization. According to African American, white, and Latino homeowners and renters in these focus groups, to be more welcoming of diversity, these communities must look at transportation networks, youth programming, job opportunities and cultural amenities to complement a commitment to openness. Providing affordable housing is essential, both rental and ownership. “This is the new fair housing frontier,” adds Schechter.
The Interfaith Housing Center of the Northern Suburbs is releasing a focus group study, “Outsider Perspectives on Chicago’s Northern Suburbs,” funded under a Fair Housing Initiatives Program grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The focus group participants generally feel the entire region, with the notable exception of Evanston and Skokie, is inaccessible. Some African American and Latino focus group participants have experienced discrimination in their search for housing in the northern suburbs, not only based on race and national origin, but familial status. Racial profiling of people of color by police was also raised as a concern by all groups.
Most participants give the northern suburbs high marks for good schools and low crime. If they could be assured that they could afford to live in the region, secure jobs and child care close to home, and feel themselves to be accepted and included, they would consider a move to the area.
Based on the findings of the study, Interfaith recommends that municipalities: (1) affirmatively advertise their communities as open; (2) promote a housing stock that is affordable to people with low and moderate incomes; (3) encourage more public transportation; (4) address concerns about comfort in new community; and (5) recruit people of color to appointed or elected positions in local government.
The work that provided the basis for this publication was supported by funding under a grant with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The substance and findings of the work are dedicated to the public. The author and publisher are solely responsible for the accuracy of the statements, and the interpretations contained in this publication. Such interpretations do not necessarily reflect the views of the Federal Government.
About the Interfaith Housing Center of the Northern Suburbs
The Interfaith Housing Center of the Northern Suburbs is a nonprofit organization that advocates for fair and affordable housing in 16 northern suburbs (Deerfield, Evanston, Glencoe, Glenview, Highland Park, Highwood, Kenilworth, Lincolnwood, Morton Grove, Niles, Northbrook, Northfield, Park Ridge, Skokie, Wilmette, and Winnetka) of Chicago. It counts among its membership congregations and civic organizations throughout the region. Based in Winnetka, Illinois, it has been fulfilling its mission of dedication to housing justice by advancing open, inclusive, and diverse communities throughout Chicago’s northern suburbs, since 1972. As the area’s premier voice for fair and affordable housing, Interfaith educates, advocates, and organizes to uphold these values.
Read the full Press Release and Study, Outsider Perspectives on Chicago’s Northern Suburbs