STRATEGIES & PROJECTS
Affordable Housing Goal
We will maintain and expand resources for homeowners, make homeownership more affordable and accessible, ensure quality rental housing, and develop affordable housing in Belmont Cragin.
Help existing homeowners keep and invest in their homes
Residents who have invested in their homes and our community should not be forced to move or face foreclosure. We will work with block clubs as a fundamental neighborhood structure to identify housing and public safety issues, build trust and knowledge among neighbors, and disseminate information on organizations and resources that can help them. The Northwest Side Housing Center (NWSHC) and Spanish Coalition for Housing (SCH) will expand their existing strong programs that provide housing counseling to prevent foreclosures and avoid unscrupulous lending practices.
The Northwest Home Equity Assurance Program (NWHEAP) is a unique, nearly $10 million neighborhood-funded and -run housing program that guarantees homeowners keep their investment if property values decrease. Because the housing market in Belmont Cragin is getting tight, the concern for many in our community is not falling value, it is affording to keep their home due to unemployment or other financial distress. Like similar programs on the Southwest Side, NWHEAP can be expanded from mortgages to home repair loans, allowing more families to stay in Belmont Cragin.
Support potential homeowners
Homeownership provides stability to residents and allows families to grow their savings. Existing homeownership counseling in the community by NWSHC and SCH provides a route to that goal by helping applicants improve their credit, understand options, and develop relationships with reputable lenders. Belmont Cragin is also one of 13 locations in Chicago for the Micro-Market Recovery Program (MMRP), a city- and state-funded effort to redevelop and stabilize areas hit by the foreclosure crisis.
Expansion of services for new homeowners will include creating a down-payment assistance program with local bank partners and creating new programs to help immigrants that lack the documentation required for traditional financing.
Improve existing local affordable rental housing with support and counseling
Although Belmont Cragin has many single-family homes, rental housing is an important component of our housing market. In fact, 50 percent of housing units in our community are owner- occupied while 50 percent are occupied by a renter. Tenants can be even more susceptible to rising housing costs because rents can rise quickly. To maintain or expand the supply of affordable rental properties in a community without much room to build, we will help landlords and renters keep costs down while making sure the existing homes they rent are safe and livable.
Our housing organizations will expand services to include counseling, education and training for renters and outreach to both local and absentee landlords about property maintenance and fair terms for tenants. A Neighborhood Improvement Program (NIP) will provide assistance for home repair grants to small landlords of single family homes and buildings of up to four units who may be overwhelmed.
Build more affordable housing
With rising demand for housing in Belmont Cragin, one of the best ways to ensure that working-class households can a ord to live here is to build more subsidized affordable housing. Our relatively high property prices make developing new multifamily rental housing challenging. However, a mixed- income population and access to nearby jobs, retail and services make Belmont Cragin highly competitive for federal and state housing programs that increasingly favor investments in communities like ours, particularly opportunities for transit- oriented development near the Metra line just south of Grand Avenue.
At our community meetings, residents indicated a preference for mixed-use a ordable housing on or near major commercial corridors. A Housing Market Study will identify the best long-term strategies for our market conditions and population, such as:
Develop new multifamily housing for seniors, families or other specific populations.
Develop or rehabilitate for-sale housing to provide new homeownership opportunities.
Renovate vacant housing in partnership with the City and other relevant partners.