I am pleased to be here with you this morning as a co-chair of The Partnership for New Communities. Almost 10 years ago, when Mayor Daley announced the Plan for Transformation, we recognized it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to revitalize large sections of our city suffering for years from disinvestment, and to help connect thousands of residents to greater opportunity.

The MacArthur Foundation and The Chicago Community Trust formed The Partnership in 2001 and recruited committed leaders from business, education, the faith community and philanthropy to participate. We believed then – and still do – that the mixed-income approach, the centerpiece of the Plan for Transformation, is a promising alternative to traditional public housing and the pockets of concentrated poverty that it had become. So we established a fund at the Trust to disburse $15 million over several years to support the new mixed-income communities and their residents through economic development, community building, employment and training activities.

Until this year, sales of market rate and affordable homes in the new communities were brisk – a testament to the quality of these new homes and the desirability of the neighborhoods in which they are located.

But like most communities in our region and across the country, these communities could not escape the impact of larger economic forces that have stalled the housing market and tightened credit nationwide.

Today’s announcement vividly illustrates the nature and scope of the partnership forged between the City and civic community around the Plan for Transformation.

The Partnership and its city partners felt that something could and should be done to demonstrate the value and appeal of the new neighborhoods and, with a lead gift from MacArthur of $500,000, the Partnership is pleased to commit $1 million toward a special incentive to stimulate sales in seven mixed-income developments throughout the city. We are offering $10,000 to the first 100 buyers. When this $10,000 award is combined with other generous offers — from the City, developers and in some cases, employers — homebuyers could be eligible for up to $60,000 in incentives through the Find Your Place in Chicago campaign.

We think the goals of the Plan for Transformation are as compelling today as they were 10 years ago—vibrant communities in good locations with housing for the diverse populations that make Chicago the great city that it is.

We are confident that the Find Your Place in Chicago incentive package and the marketing campaign being launched today will bring homebuyers to these wonderful Chicago neighborhoods — where they will find real value in a home that meets their needs. We are pleased to help make that happen.

Thank you.

Housing, Chicago, Community Development, Housing, Policy, United States