U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Office of Community Planning and Development

Consolidated Plan Contact


Cook County is the largest county in Illinois and the second largest county in the nation. The City of Chicago and 127 suburban municipalities account for approximately 85 percent of the County's 946 square miles, and unincorporated areas make up the remaining 15 percent. Cook County is a dynamic network of commercial and industrial centers catering to businesses with local, national and international markets. It leads the nation in transportation. Cook County and Chicago have one of the country's most diverse cultural landscape and ethnic populations. This diversity is evident by the region's prominence in the arts, music, sports, and cultural institutions.

Action Plan

The Action Plan constitutes an application for funds under three different HUD formula programs -- Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) program, the Emergency Shelter Grants (ESG) program, and the HOME Investments Partnership Program, for a total of $ 21,732,000. These funds, along with various local matchings funds, potential program income and County investments, will support housing activities, capital improvements, economic development and public services.

Citizen Participation

Citizen participation was central in establishing the needs and priorities of the Consolidated Plan. Participation was organized through a formalized citizen participation process and through formal and informal consultation with area service providers and through soliciting input from low- and moderate-income individuals, particularly those individuals living in economically disadvantaged areas where CDBG funds are proposed to be used. Cook County held a series of County-wide hearings and municipal applicants (subgrantees) for CDBG and ESG funds held local public hearings. Surveys were also conducted to fulfill specific data needs.


Cook County has a population of 5,105,847. The City of Chicago's population is 2,783,726 and suburban Cook County, including the unincorporated areas, has a population of 2,321,761. The Cook County Consolidated Community Development Plan does not include the City of Chicago. The suburban municipalities of Cook County are grouped into five planning regions for better coordination of planning efforts and services: North, Northwest, West, Southwest and South.

The Chicago metropolitan area, which includes Cook County, is among the most fragmented in the nation in its segregation of low-income households and racial minorities from other segments of the population. Concentrations of low to moderate income households are found largely in the South region of suburban Cook County. Households whose incomes are at or below the poverty rate are found in greatest numbers throughout the South and West regions and a small portion of the North region. The North, Northwest, and Southwest regions have the smallest proportions of low- to moderate-income households. These areas also have the smallest proportion of affordable rental housing units. Each of the five regions includes households of varying ethnic origins and income levels. Some regions have particularly high concentrations of particular racial/ethnic groups, while other areas are nearly devoid of ethnically/racially diverse populations or low-income households.


Housing Needs

Housing costs have increased since 1980. The increasing housing cost burden falls disproportionately on lower income households, both renters and those seeking home ownership. The most common housing problem, experienced by low- and moderate-income renter and owner households in the County, is a housing cost burden where over 30 percent of income is needed for housing. Overcrowding is another significant housing problem.

Housing Market Conditions

There are 901,638 housing units in suburban Cook County. Of this number, 866,877 units are occupied (96.1 percent). Owner-occupied housing units comprise 72.3 percent (626,633) of the total occupied housing units in suburban Cook County in 1990. Renter- occupied housing units comprise 27.7 percent (240,244) of the total occupied housing units in the County.

The 1990 median home values for 126 suburban Cook County municipalities ranged from $38,200 to more than $500,000. Between 1980 and 1990, the median home value increased by a range of 53.4 percent to 150 percent. The 1990 median rent values range from $152 to $1,000. Between 1980 and 1990, the median rents increased by a range of 31 percent to more than 100 percent. The range of median home values and median rent values are based on the median values for the 126 municipalities in suburban Cook County covered in this Consolidated Plan.

Median household incomes for these 126 municipalities in 1990 ranged from $14,032 to $123,705. Between 1980 and 1990, the median household income increased by a range of 16 percent to 142.4 percent. Lower-income households often pay well is excess of 30 percent of their income on housing. The increasing housing cost burden falls disproportionately on lower income households, both renters and those seeking home ownership, due to their higher marginal propensity to consume. As these income levels become more disparate, so the does the level of income segregation. Because of the high correlation between income and racial characteristics, Cook County is witnessing a resegregation in many communities. This is due in part to the barriers to affordable housing.

Affordable Housing Needs

Cook County's North region contains predominantly single-family housing units with a low vacancy rate and comparatively high market values. The predominance of owner-occupied units with high median values is a barrier to entry for low-income homebuyers. There is a lack of affordable units for extremely low- and low-income households in this region.

The Northwest region has a limited amount of affordable housing units affected by a high demand, causing rents to escalate and resulting in an inadequate supply of affordable housing. This region has the fastest growing number of jobs in the County yet the supply of rental housing for workers and employees has not kept pace with the demand.

The West region has a substantial number of affordable housing units, however many of the units are in substandard condition or face functional obsolescence, requiring modernization. Almost 70 percent of the region's multi-family housing stock is over 40 years old and nearly 80 percent of the rental stock consists of older buildings with less than 20 units. Approximately 34.4 percent of the population have incomes below 80 percent of the median.

The Southwest region contains the lowest number of owner-occupied dwellings in the County in 1990. However, this is not due to sparse development but terrain and wetland restrictions. There is a limited supply of affordable housing in this region, especially in new construction and rental housing for low-income household populations.

The South region has the largest concentrations of affordable housing in the jurisdiction, much of which is in substandard condition. There is a concentration of low-income and minority populations. The concentration of Section 8 renters and foreclosed and abandoned properties, together with the concentrations of very-low and low-income households in many communities, has had a negative impact upon the region' economy. This area lost a substantial number of manufacturing jobs during the 1980's.

Homeless Needs

The suburban homeless are often a hidden population, and thus are difficult to assess and serve. A survey was designed and administered to examine the homeless population and their needs for housing, goods and services. The survey results show a total of 1,430 homeless persons were observed at a specific point in time. While the survey has many limitations, the results are primarily intended to serve as a starting point for further assessment. Assessing the suburban population that are currently housed but threatened with homelessness is a difficult task. While the exact scope of the problem is unknown, it is expected that those services that benefit the homeless population will also benefit those who are threatened with homelessness.

Public and Assisted Housing Needs

Suburban Cook County has a variety of special housing and supportive housing needs. Groups identified in this area include the elderly, persons with physical and/or developmental disabilities, persons with alcohol or other drug addiction, people with HIV/AIDS, residents of public and assisted housing, and victims of domestic violence. The supply of affordable housing with supportive services for people with special needs is insufficient and must be increased.

Barriers to Affordable Housing

Barriers to the availability of affordable housing in suburban Cook County include the overall economics of producing affordable housing, community resistance, and land use requirements and policies.

Fair Housing

Not all communities in Cook County have made equal access to decent housing for all a priority. The metropolitan area remains one of the most segregated in the nation, denying job opportunities and other services ancillary to housing. It burdens the low income job holder by increasing the job commute. Greater public support needs to be created among the citizens and public officials to make universal access to decent housing a priority. The current level of segregation also needs to be reduced.

Lead-Based Paint

Although lead-based paint was banned from residential use in 1978, almost all County communities had substantial housing development prior to 1978, and geographic and socio- economic factors had placed many moderate, low- and very low-income households into these older communities of Cook County, where there is not enough incentive to eradicate lead-based paint hazards. It is estimated that 549,614 units have lead-based paint. This reflects 72.8 percent of those built before 1979 and about 60.5 percent of the overall housing units of the County. Of the estimated 549,614 housing units with lead-based paint, about 70,253 units are very-low income housing units (12.8 percent of the housing units with lead-based paint) and about 193,562 are low-income housing units (35.2 percent of the housing units with lead-based paint) with lead-based paint.

Community Development Needs

The limited resources available to the County serve as an obstacle to address most of the vastly diffused, underserved community development needs scattered throughout the County, particularly for housing and infrastructure. Economic development assistance and financing for business also needs to be increased and improved. New jobs have to be attracted or created for lower income persons. There is also a need to increase the participation of minority- and woman-owned business enterprises.


Vision for Change

The primary goal of the Consolidated Community Development Plan is the development of viable urban communities. This can be achieved by providing decent housing in a vibrant community environment and expanding economic opportunities, principally for persons of low- and moderate-income.

Housing and Community Development Objectives and Priorities

The County seeks to expand the realization and opportunities of a more heterogeneously distributed housing market by underwriting fair housing programs and ownership counseling efforts through CDBG, ESG and HOME funding, and promoting alternative housing options. The priorities for community development include the retention, expansion and attraction of commercial and industrial enterprises through effective business marketing of the County as a viable business environment. Short-term and long-term strategic plans, on a regional and community level, will be developed to focus resources for effective community planning and development.

Housing Priorities

The priorities and strategies are directed toward the preservation of existing affordable housing stock and the expansion of affordable housing opportunities in underserved areas to reduce the jobs-housing imbalance and impede the market activities that isolate groups by income. The needs of the homeless population are to be addressed by: (1) increasing emergency shelter and transitional housing capacity, (2) assisting in providing comprehensive support services to this population group, (3) further identifying the characteristics and needs of the homeless population and those at risk for homelessness, and (4) establishing formalized networks with Homeless Provider Organizations (HPOs) which will expand the capacity to deliver well targeted continuum of care services leading to self-sufficiency and permanent housing.

To assist local care providers with the acquisition and rehabilitation assistance to house special needs persons, Cook County will use HOME program funds to assist in filling the gap between conventional lender sources and project costs. The Department of Planning and Development will work with local governments to evaluate and revise local policies that impede the development of affordable housing. Public housing residents are encouraged and assisted with organizing residents councils, rehabilitation planning committees, tenant advisory groups to promote resident involvement in public housing management, rehabilitation, and community development efforts. Job training programs and resident- owned businesses will be promoted to improve public housing residents' economic status and to enable them to participate in homeownership.

Non-Housing Community Development Priorities

The overall community development priorities are to create jobs, encourage commercial and industrial investment, and improve the business climate; to modernize and enhance infrastructure in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods; to continue and improve the provision of social services; and to promote coordination of economic development efforts through regional planning. A needs assessment survey identified the general priorities for community development needs. However, the limited resources available to the County serve as an obstacle to address most of the vastly diffused underserved needs scattered throughout the County.

Anti-Poverty Strategy

To combat poverty in the region, Cook County's strategy is to increase economic development, job training, affordable housing, and the availability of basic human services. These elements, when promoted in communities, work together to create an overall environment for individual self-sufficiency and positive community development. Primary needs of persons living in poverty will also be addressed by the coordinated delivery of health care, housing, nutrition and child care and other social services. The County will work to promote the coordination of health and social services through the Bureau of Public Health and the Cook County Planning Subcabinet. In addition, the County assures that subgrantees target low- and moderate- income households in their service areas and that these subgrantees integrate their services to address the variety of needs of their clients.

Housing and Community Development Resources

The funding available through the CDBG, ESG and HOME programs ($21,732,000) is designed to address regional needs and strategies. There are 117 CDBG 1995 projects ($16,251,000) to be distributed accordingly throughout the County. The ESG program allocates $513,000 for 17 projects distributed throughout the County. The resources, that are expected to be available to address the priority needs and objectives identified in the strategic plan, include: known Federal resources, potential Federal resources, known private and non-federal public resources, and potential private and non-Federal public resources. The county-wide HOME allocation is $4,968,000 with $1,000,000 in County corporate matching funds.

Coordination of Strategic Plan

Three primary entities are involved in implementing the Strategic Plan: the Cook County Department of Planning and Development, the Cook County Planning Subcabinet, and the Cook County Community Development Advisory Council. Other organizations and governments were consulted in the developing the Consolidated Plan and each have important roles in carrying out the identified priorities. Partnerships are created between area municipalities, the City of Chicago, neighboring counties, the State of Illinois, the private sector, and other non-municipal and non-profit organizations. By forgoing partnerships, limited resources are more efficiently used and gaps in the delivery of services are minimized.


Description of Key Projects

Housing activities will be carried out through the CDBG and HOME programs. CDBG program activities include single-family rehabilitation, housing counseling, fair housing, and demolition. HOME program activities include financing for new housing construction, multi- family residential rehabilitation, single-family rehabilitation, and homebuyers/ homeownership assistance. The HOME Program has been funded for Federal Fiscal year 1995 at $4,968,000.

The attack on the barriers to affordable housing will focus on land use policies that decrease density and increase land cost. Efforts will be directed at the spectrum of land use controls, zoning, building and subdivision regulations, impact fee assessment and building costs. Evaluation and abatement to reduce lead-based paint hazards is an effort undertaken with an inter-departmental effort focusing on screening and identification of contaminated sites. The inspection and abatement of lead hazards will continue through inspection and rehabilitation efforts.

HOME and CDBG funds will be used to maintain and expand the supply of affordable housing units for people with special needs. CDBG program funds are allocated for increasing handicapped accessibility and making the buildings and infrastructure comply with the American Disabilities Act (ADA). An allocation of $532,200 is awarded to six CDBG projects specifically targeting this strategy. Funding from ESG, CDBG and HOME programs will increase the capacities of Homeless Provider Organizations by using the rehabilitation component of the ESG program, and the transitional housing acquisition and rehabilitation capacities of the HOME grant.

The Department of Planning and Development will provide essential services, operations and Homeless Prevention funding through ESG through grants to 17 Homeless Provider Organization (HPOs) and will fund shared housing and housing counseling activities of HPOs through CDBG.

The Housing Authority of Cook County (HACC) will encourage and support public housing residents to become more involved in management through the tenant councils, elections, and management-tenants monthly meetings. HACC will continue to provide materials and information to residents regarding homeownership, and will develop a plan for increased job training and resident-owned businesses to reduce the number of poverty-level households. HACC currently contracts with resident-owned businesses and networks with private housing firms.

The majority of CDBG program-funded projects are targeted specifically at community development activities. These projects include infrastructure and capital improvements, economic development, planning and administration, and public service.


The funding available through the various programs are designed to address regional needs and strategies, and are distributed accordingly throughout the County. There are several projects which primarily serve the suburban County as a whole, regardless of regional or political boundaries. The following maps are attached: 1) a map showing points of interest; 2) a map showing the percent of low-mod persons and unemployment; 3) a map showing the percent of low-mod persons and Hispanics; 4) a map showing the percent of low-mod persons and projects; 5) a map showing the percent of unemployment and projects; 6) a map showing the percent of low-mod persons and Blacks; and 7) a map showing the percent of low-mod persons.

Housing Goals

There are 29 CDBG single-family rehabilitation (SFR) projects awarded to municipalities in suburban Cook County, with a total allocation of $4,399,359. It is estimated that these CDBG funds will rehabilitate 500 housing units. HOME and CDBG funds will also provide up to 50 additional units for long-term usage by special needs persons. The CDBG program will fund $210,000 toward the rehabilitation of existing facilities of special needs care providers. The HOME Program has allocated $1,000,000 of its annual funding to be directed to special needs care providers. An additional $2,000,000 is allocated toward homeownership assistance for at least 400 households.


MAP 1 depicts points of interest in the jurisdiction

MAP 2 depicts points of interest and low-moderate income areas.

MAP 3 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and minority concentration levels.

MAP 4 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and unemployment levels.

MAP 5 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and proposed HUD funded projects.

MAP 6 depicts Neighborhood Segments and streets with proposed HUD funded projects.

TABLE (without associated map) provides information about the project(s).

To comment on Cook County's Consolidated Plan, please contact:
Suzanne M. Hayes
Ph: 312-443-6525
Fax: 312-443-4479

Return to Illinois' Consolidated Plans.