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Preserving Affordability Together

A Blueprint for Community Action

Developed over many months in collaboration with stakeholders, informed by the lived expereince of members of the community, MPC has created a blueprint of strategies for community action against displacement.

Exectutive Summary

In 2018, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) and the Institute of Housing Studies at DePaul University (IHS) developed an assessment tool to help communities understand the impact of increased development and investment in their neighborhoods. This was a priority recommendation in MPC’s Our Equitable Future Roadmap for building inclusive housing and neighborhoods in Chicago. It was crafted as several communities grappled with the negative impacts that otherwise-positive catalytic investments were having on housing affordability and displacement.

In close partnership with IHS and the Garfield Park Community Council, we at MPC piloted the Preserving Affordability Together process in East Garfield Park, after speaking with neighborhood leaders from across Chicago.

From May through December 2019, we partnered with East Garfield Park residents and stakeholders to co-create a vision and action plan for preserving affordability and preventing displacement. We worked with leaders from across the community— from legacy residents and newcomers to pastors and nonprofit service providers. Together, we analyzed data on housing, demographic and economic trends. Together, we listened to residents’ lived experiences and identified pressing issues. And together, we co-created solutions to preserve affordability and prevent unjust displacement.

As the pilot evolved, our intentions grew beyond traditional community engagement in an effort to ensure community-driven equitable development. Too often, plans and reports end up sitting on shelves without actionable implementation. In this effort, our focus was to use both data and meaningful community engagement in bringing residents together to build collective power under a common vision for equitable development. We hoped this process created an advocacy platform driven by community residents for community residents.

What we heard in East Garfield Park we would likely hear in Austin, Philadelphia, or Minneapolis. We find these pressures across the U.S., and as such, the solutions that serve East Garfield Park might also serve other major cities. Of course, there is no onesize-fits all solution to the problem of displacement. Still, this blueprint might serve as a starting point in other communities, ready for experimentation and refinement.

This publication documents the community-driven process, detailed data, the voices we heard, and the blueprint for community action that resulted. Our goal for this report is to equip community members with the vision and tools to prevent displacement and ensure that existing residents benefit from growing investment.

At MPC, we commit to staying engaged and playing an active role in its implementation. Thank you to all who participated in Preserving Affordability Together. Your hard work, time, and effort made this plan a reality.

How this report will be used

This blueprint is the culmination of a community-driven planning process conducted in East Garfield Park. This report serves four principal purposes:

• to describe and summarize the community-driven planning process

• to highlight key findings from analysis of housing, investment, and displacement pressure data

• to put forth a blueprint for community action to preserve affordability through collectively identified vision, mission, goals and strategies

• to identify five key priority strategies for community, public, and private sector leaders

For more information, go here.