MacArthur Award for Creative & Effective Institutions

MacArthur Award for Creative & Effective Institutions / Meet the 2006 Recipients

Chicago Rehab Network

Chicago, Illinois
Published August 24, 2006

Chicago's leading voice for affordable housing

Residents in many large American cities are feeling the pinch from a decade of rapidly rising housing costs. As developers rush to convert apartments to condos and older homes are torn down, low- and moderate-income families scramble to find decent affordable housing. In 2003, a minimum-wage worker in Illinois would have to work 139 hours each week to afford the fair market rate for a two-bedroom apartment and still meet the standard guideline that housing costs should not exceed 30% of income.

When a police officer or a school teacher can no longer afford to live in the city, the city suffers. When children must uproot every six months, their education suffers. When families worry constantly about their budgets, and their safety, their well-being suffers. For more than 25 years, the Chicago Rehab Network has advocated on behalf of families and, ultimately, the city of Chicago itself.

The Network, the oldest and largest coalition of nonprofit housing developers in the Midwest, is the leading voice for affordable housing in Chicagoland. A collective of more than 40 community development organizations serving more than 60 communities, it has helped ensure safe, affordable housing for more than 10,000 families. It achieves its mission through education, research, advocacy, and hands-on development and community building.

Its education programs train housing developers and community members working to literally rebuild their communities, teaching the ins and outs of financing, as well as building and restoring housing. The Network helped create Chicago’s “density bonus,” allowing developers to build more housing in exchange for including more affordable units. Since effective advocacy relies on sound research and information, the Chicago Rehab Network maintains a comprehensive database to monitor the status of properties with federal housing assistance. The Network uses these data to keep legislators, tenants and advocates informed of properties with expiring contracts and to help them develop strategies to preserve at risk units.


Grantee Profile: Learn more about Chicago Rehab Network

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