South Suburbs to Receive more than $9M from Cook County for Foreclosures Recovery

Park Forest, IL–(ENEWSPF)– On November 4th, the Cook County Board of Commissioners announced that a group of communities in the south suburbs of Chicago, one of the areas in Illinois hit hardest by foreclosures, will receive $9,000,950 to use for foreclosure recovery.

The funding is a significant portion of the $28,156,321 the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded to Cook County through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, created by HUD to assist communities that have been or are likely to be affected by foreclosed and abandoned properties.

To put the funding to its best use, a group of 28 municipalities formed the South Suburban Housing Collaborative, which is breaking ground by developing a truly comprehensive and coordinated redevelopment plan for their communities. The $9,000,950 will help fund the plan, which targets investments to priority areas along the Calumet River, close to jobs and existing commuter rail, and along a new transit route proposed for the southeast suburbs. This initial funding will support projects in Dolton, Ford Heights, Harvey, Hazel Crest, Lansing, Lynwood, Park Forest, Phoenix, Richton Park, Robbins, and South Holland. The South Suburban Housing Collaborative also is leveraging additional funding from local, state and federal agencies and programs to support the overall redevelopment plan, which would create or preserve some 474 energy-efficient homes, and demolish and/or land bank for future development an additional 200 sites.

"South suburban leaders are excited and ready to make a real impact with this funding," said Ed Paesel, executive director, South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association, which helped form the collaborative and represents 42 south suburban communities. "Our goal is not simply to redevelop or demolish foreclosed properties, but to put the entire Southland on stronger, more sustainable footing by developing affordable, energy-efficient homes in attractive neighborhoods with good transportation options and job opportunities."

For instance, the Village of Dolton plans to acquire, rehab, and retrofit with energy-efficient features 14 single-family homes in a neighborhood near the border of the Village of Riverdale and adjacent to a proposed transit corridor that would run through the southeast suburbs.

Cook County awarded an additional $3.4 million to other south suburban towns for foreclosure recovery. Even with that assistance, the funding is not enough to address the scale of the south suburbs’ foreclosures: since January 2008, south Cook County experienced more than 9,500 foreclosure filings.

To help address this crisis, The Chicago Community Trust provided a grant to hire Janice Morrissy as the South Suburban Housing Collaborative’s director of housing initiatives. She will help the communities carry out their plan and serve as a single point of contact for residents, developers, partners, funders, employers, and other stakeholders.

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"Rather than competing against each other, south suburban leaders are working together and pooling resources to target the highest-impact investments and market this extraordinary redevelopment opportunity," said Morrissy.

The South Suburban Housing Collaborative is a groundbreaking effort that has earned the support of a wide range of nonprofit organizations, foundations, and companies across the region. In addition to the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association and The Chicago Community Trust, the collaborative has received assistance from the following: Chicago Metropolitan Housing Development Corporation, which is helping the group with real estate acquisition, disposition, and compliance issues; DLA Piper, which is providing pro-bono legal assistance; Diversity, Inc., which is coordinating housing counseling, outreach to potential homebuyers and tenants, and fair housing compliance; Spanish Coalition for Housing, Regional Fair Housing Center, South Suburban Housing Center, and Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago, which are providing housing counseling; the Grand Victoria Foundation and Field Foundation of Illinois, which are providing funding administrative support; and the Metropolitan Planning Council and Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, which have been helping support and coordinate the entire collaborative process. Resources:

To learn more about the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, visit http://www.hud.gov.

Contact Ed Paesel, Executive Director, South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association, at 708-922-4670 or [email protected]. Learn more about the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association at www.ssmma.org. Contact Janice Morrissy, Director of Housing Initiatives, South Suburban Housing Collaborative, at 708-9224672 or [email protected].

Source: VOPF