Reaching the Dream -- Chicago

Quote: Homeownership is associated with neighborhood stability and participation in voluntary political activities, suggesting that public policy supports for homeownership are justifiable to the extent that these are policy goals. -- Joint Center for Housing Studies (Harvard University), October 17, 2001 press release entitled Social Implications of Low-income Homeownership

According to the leaders of the city of Chicago, affordable housing is a priority issue for the city. The available stock of affordable rental housing cannot meet demand. New affordable housing is not being produced without government subsidies, and existing resources for this purpose are insufficient. To this end, the Chicago City Council passed a new 5-year affordable housing plan entitled "Build. Preserve. Lead: An Affordable Housing Agenda for Chicago's Neighborhoods." The plan calls for the city to commit a total of $1.9 billion from a variety of local, Federal, and State sources to build, preserve, or otherwise assist 48,000 units of affordable housing.

In the 1990s, Chicago added 40,000 new homeowners and 100,000 new residents, revitalized the downtown area, and increased levels of homeownership, particularly among Latinos and African Americans. However, amidst this prosperity there are new challenges to affordability-many residents pay too high a percentage of their income for housing, and much of the city's housing stock is aging. Therefore, the city plans to address its housing needs through four core strategies: 1) build new affordable rental and homeownership housing; 2) preserve Chicago's existing affordable housing; 3) assist households in staying in their homes; and 4) pursue policies and funding to support affordable housing.

With this in mind, the HUD Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (CFBCI) has chosen Chicago for the "Reaching the Dream" initiative. The following information provides a look at one neighborhood undergoing significant revitalization, as well as an overview of the city of Chicago's demographics.


Chicago has been called a city of neighborhoods because of the 77 communities within the city limits. The neighborhood boundaries and their distinctive characteristics have been formed by waves of immigrants-Irish, German, Polish, Asian, Latino, and others. These diverse communities give Chicago its rich tradition as an international city.

Every five years, the City of Chicago develops a Consolidated Plan for addressing the affordable housing and community development needs in Chicago’s many neighborhoods. The Plan is an annual strategy prepared to achieve three goals: provide decent, affordable housing; expand economic opportunity; and serve the full range of constituencies among the low/moderate income population.

Another of Chicago’s major initiatives, entitled ‘Plan for Transformation,’ has been spearheaded by the CHA. The Plan is focused on improving the appearance, quality and culture of public housing throughout Chicago, and it represents the largest reconstruction of public housing in the nation’s history.

Rockwell Gardens, a public housing development, slated for housing redevelopment is situated on 17 acres of land on the west side of the city, 3 miles from downtown Chicago. The site is bordered by Western Avenue on the east, Monroe Avenue on the north, Rockwell Avenue on the west, and Van Buren Avenue on the south.

Summary of Statistics

The City of Chicago has a population of 2,896,016. Between the years of 1990 and 2000, Chicago saw population growth of 4 percent.

The racial composition of the residents of Chicago is:

Caucasian-42 percent
African American-37 percent
Asian American-4.5 percent
Hispanic or Latino-26 percent

Forty-four percent of residents own the housing quarters in which they live, while the other 56 percent are renter occupants. The 2000 median value of all owner-occupied housing is $144,237.

Based on 2000 census statistics, the median household income in Chicago is $39,179 per year. Over 20 percent of households operate on an estimated yearly income of less than $15,000. The unemployment rate is 6.5 percent.

HUD's Regional Faith-Based Liaison
Kenneth Brucks
Chicago Regional Office
Ralph Metcalfe Federal Building
77 West Jackson Boulevard
Chicago, IL 60604-3507
Tel: (312) 353-6263, ext 2343

HUD's Regional Director
Joseph P. Galvan
Chicago Regional Office
Ralph Metcalfe Federal Building
77 West Jackson Boulevard
Chicago, IL 60604-3507
Tel: (312) 353-5680
Fax: (312) 886-2729


Content Archived: April 9, 2010