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Regional Housing Initiative: RHI Around the Nation

Creating opportunity in Chicagoland—and around the nation.

Essential ingredients for a regional housing authority collaborative

How can other regions sustain and replicate regional collaboration between housing authorities, regional planning organizations, governments, fair housing advocates and developers? Our experience teaches us it’s wise to:

Call to action

With housing insecurity continuing to burden unemployed, underemployed and working poor families across the region and nationally, it is imperative that advocates, housing authorities and communities continue to reach for proven solutions to improve quality of life, create stronger neighborhoods and drive vibrant, equitable growth. Here we offer one of many solutions—a regional collaborative that leverages HUD’s limited resources to promote affordable housing in opportunity communities and mixed-income housing in transitional communities. The RHI model is a creative mechanism to circumvent dated policies that deter regional cooperation.

Grove Apartments offers affordable housing in a neighborhood near jobs, schools and transit in Oak Park, Ill.

As advocated here by Bruce Katz at the Brookings Institution, a long-term strategy is to consolidate housing authority administration at the regional level. There are multiple housing authorities in metropolitan areas, which results in serious inefficiencies in program operation, including duplications in waiting lists, data management, certifying households and outreaching to landlords. In the wake of the recession and declining federal resources, housing authorities could see savings from consolidating programmatic and database functions. Not only are duplicative systems costly from a government spending perspective, it is also challenging for voucher families to navigate the varying administrative policies across one region when they are searching for housing. Now, more than ever, greater attention must be paid to how archaic government structures impact the nation’s poor. 

In the near term, RHI is pursuing a cross-metropolitan strategy to test innovative regional solutions and will be looking to HUD and actors across the Chicago region to engage. While a regional housing authority model would be truly innovative, a feasible short-term solution is to formalize the collaborative as a housing authority consortium. We encourage local, regional and statewide actors to join with us as we advocate for a new paradigm and policies to expand affordable housing opportunities.

Learn more

BRicK Partners, LLC
Chicago Housing Authority
City of Chicago Dept. of Community Development
Chicago Housing Authority
DuPage Housing Authority
Housing Authority of Cook County
Housing Choice Partners
Illinois Housing Development Authority
Joliet Housing Authority
Lake County Housing Authority
McHenry County Housing Authority
Oak Park Housing Authority
RAND Corporation
Waukegan Housing Authority
Partnership for New Communities
U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development