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

Consolidated Plan Contact


The city of DeKalb is home to Illinois' second largest university, Northern Illinois University. Increasingly, however, DeKalb is becoming aware of its relationship to the Chicago metropolitan area. As Chicago expands to the west, the effects are being felt in DeKalb. Although many acres of farmland still separate the Chicago suburbs from the DeKalb corporate limits, some parcels of land are being filled in with residential, commercial, and industrial expansion. The potential impact of this growth on the county and on the city is difficult to predict, but the need to manage it is very real.

Action Plan

During 1995-1996, DeKalb plans to spend $567,000 on housing and community development activities.

Citizen Participation

Notification of the city's October 6, 1994, public hearing on the Consolidated Plan was provided through a paid notice in the DeKalb Daily Chronicle. Notices were also posted in the municipal building and given to all local radio and television stations. In addition, feedback received from persons seeking assistance from activities funded by Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) money were included in the formulation of the Consolidated Plan strategies. The CDBG Citizen Advisory Committee, which has broad community participation, provided comments on the draft plan. The plan was available for a 30-day comment period, which concluded with a second public hearing at the regular city council meeting on January 9, 1995.


The 1990 census showed a total population of 34,940, of which 45 percent were students. The population is expected to increase to 37,000 by January 1995. The median age is 23 years, with 44 percent of the population between the ages of 18 and 24 and 7 percent over age 65. A total of 5,771 families and 10,623 households reside in DeKalb.

Although more than 66 countries are represented on the Northern Illinois University (NIU) campus, only 10 percent of the total city population consists of minorities. Eighty percent of the minority residents are enrolled in college. Sixty percent of minority households are low income.

NIU is the greatest single influence on the economy of the city. The largest employer in the city and county of DeKalb, NIU employs a regular workforce of approximately 3,500 people. If students, graduate assistants, and other temporary or seasonal employees are included, the number reaches 7,100. The total fall 1994 student enrollment was 22,881. (The census does not count students who commute from outside the city limits, but it does include persons who are enrolled in colleges other than NIU.)

DeKalb's median household income (MFI) for 1990 is $25,400. Low- to moderate-income households represent 61 percent of all households, and 9 percent of families live below the poverty level.



DeKalb's population growth has been steady over the last few years, with a 5.6-percent increase between 1980 and 1990. However, it is anticipated that this growth will increase significantly in the near future as more people seek to move further west following the expansion of Chicago and its suburbs.

Housing Needs

The results of the DeKalb County Community Services survey of clients and social service providers highlight the availability of affordable housing as the most important community need.

Market Conditions

A housing market and inventory study completed in 1993 showed a diversity of neighborhoods in DeKalb. It did not reveal any large areas of blight, dilapidated housing, or concentrations of very low-income families.

Less than 35 percent of the residential properties in the surveyed areas needed major repairs or were substandard but suitable for rehabilitation. Approximately 1 percent were determined to be unsuitable for rehabilitation. Very few unoccupied residential buildings were identified. The largest percentage of substandard housing was found in areas with a large number of student rooming houses. The survey noted that many properties within the priority areas, including one of the student areas with a large number of substandard units, were in the process of being or had recently been rehabilitated.

The number of new construction starts exceeds the number of units being eliminated. With few exceptions, the most recent developments have been in the upper end of the price range for the community. In the single-family home market, less than 1 percent of owner-occupied housing units were for sale in 1990. Based on the sales figures from 1993, the average price of a home ($136,156) would probably be beyond the reach of a medium-income family.

The rental inventory has grown tremendously in the last 30 years. Most of the new construction has been designed for students, because these units can command high rents and the number of consumers is consistent. Very few family-oriented apartments with rents affordable to low- to moderate-income families have been constructed. Most families must rely on single-family detached rentals, which are expensive because they are in short supply. In addition to high rents, most landlords require a substantial deposit. The vacancy rate for rental units is approximately 3 percent.

Affordable Housing Needs

The 1990 census showed that 2,951 rental units were affordable to households with incomes below 50 percent of MFI. Of these, 698 units were affordable to households with extremely low incomes (under 30 percent of MFI).

New developments include a 48-unit apartment building and 2 proposed rental projects, totaling 194 units, financed with low-income housing tax credits. These complexes will help address the need for affordable rental units for families.

Homeless Needs

The emergency needs of the homeless in DeKalb are served by Hope Haven, a permanent year-round shelter. It is designed to shelter 1 to 3 families, or 20 residents. Hope Haven has usually been large enough to house everyone requiring shelter. However, in recent months the facility has been at capacity on several occasions. If this trend continues, expansion may become necessary.

Safe Passage, a facility equipped to house up to 22 individuals, provides emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence and their children. Transitional housing for individuals and families dealing with all types of homelessness was the most often mentioned housing need during the public hearing and during all social service agency interviews. Emergency rental assistance, utility deposits, and additional Section 8 certificates and vouchers are needed to help people out of emergency shelters and into permanent housing.

Public and Assisted Housing Needs

The Housing Authority of DeKalb County administers 227 Section 8 certificates and 165 Section 8 vouchers. The Authority reported a waiting list of 150 families for subsidized housing. Based on the numbers provided, there is a great shortage of three-bedroom units, apartments for families, and accessible units.

Barriers to Affordable Housing

Costs related to land acquisition, construction materials, and labor as well as greater profit margins have an impact on the affordability of new housing. At present, most new single-family housing is out of the reach of moderate-income buyers because the focus of new home construction is on high-end housing needs. Another factor driving up the cost of housing is the low inventory of property for sale or rent.

The city of DeKalb will continue reducing building review fees for multiple housing using the same design. It will support less stringent subdivision requirements when the planned unit development process is used. It will also continue its neighborhood revitalization and rehabilitation programs to maintain and improve the existing affordable housing inventory.

Fair Housing

There is no independent fair housing organization in the city of DeKalb. The Human Relations Commission (HRC) is responsible for acting on all citizen discrimination complaints based on race, color, sex, religion, age, national origin or ancestry, physical or mental handicap, marital status, or matriculation. HRC has been given greater authority in investigation of discrimination complaints. Although the specific duty of addressing fair housing was not included, this type of complaint would fall within HRC's jurisdiction.

Lead-Based Paint

Eighty-one percent of the units in DeKalb were built before 1979 and might likely pose an environmental danger due to the possible presence of lead-based paint. At present, no data have been gathered on the extent of lead poisoning among children in DeKalb.

The DeKalb County Health Department is instituting a screening program using new limits, and the data obtained will help determine 5-year qualified goals. The overall goal is to reduce or eliminate childhood lead poisoning. To meet this goal, the city, in cooperation with the DeKalb County Health Department, plans to provide public information and education that clearly communicates the extent of the lead problem and explains what measures need to be taken to reduce risk and protect health. The city will also coordinate public and private efforts to reduce lead-based paint hazards.

Other Issues

The DeKalb County Health Department reports that individuals with HIV/AIDS are most often cared for at home by family members. When the need arises for more intensive, long-term care, persons with AIDS must move to larger communities to find facilities capable of providing the needed assistance.

Other persons with special needs are provided for as follows:

Community Development Needs

Some companies have chosen not to locate in DeKalb because they fear a shortage of available labor. The need for more jobs for skilled and semiskilled persons was reported. Four large retail developments are underway in the community, but no new major manufacturing developments are planned in the near future.

Lack of transportation and child-care services can hinder lower income families from taking advantage of affordable housing. The only public transportation is the university-supported bus, whose routes are quite restricted. The Voluntary Action Center, funded by the Illinois Department of Transportation, provides rides to stores, health care facilities, and other locations. All rides must be arranged in advance and are available only during traditional working hours. These services are targeted to senior citizens and persons with disabilities.

Public child care is not available in the community during nontraditional working hours. Some residents report they are better off financially if they remain unemployed than they would be if they worked and paid for child care.


Housing and Community Development Objectives and Priorities

Housing and economic goals identified during the planning process include:

Housing Priorities

The city of DeKalb hopes to meet the following housing needs over the next 5 years:

Nonhousing Community Development Priorities

Nonhousing community development priorities identified for DeKalb include:

Antipoverty Strategy

Antipoverty strategies funded or supported by the city in cooperation with local social service providers cover the following areas: economic development, emergency assistance, housing, income management, networking, nutrition and health, and self-sufficiency.

Housing and Community Development Resources

Federal resources to help DeKalb carry out its planned activities include Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), Section 8 assistance, Shelter + Care funds, Federal Emergency Management Agency funds, and Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly.

State resources include State-administered HOME Investment Partnership (HOME) and Emergency Shelter Grant program funds, Illinois Affordable Housing Trust Fund, Crisis Assistance Program, Mortgage Credit Certificate Program, Homestart Mortgage Program, Department of Aging funds, Domestic Violence Program, Link Deposit Program, and the BikeWay Grant Program.

Local public resources include Tax Increment Financing, DeKalb Township rental assistance, Human Services funding, Revolving Loan Fund, and general revenue.

Private resources include nonprofit organizations mentioned throughout this summary as well as the Salvation Army, the DeKalb County Education Consortium, and Community Contacts.

Coordination of the Strategic Plan

The DeKalb Planning and Development Department will be responsible for monitoring the activities undertaken to achieve the goals set forth in the Consolidated Plan. The coordination among agencies in DeKalb County is to be commended. Most governmental and social service agencies participate in an organization called Networking for Families. This organization meets monthly to discuss agency programs and client needs. Meetings are open to the public. Subcommittees address specific issues, such as housing.


Description of Key Projects

The key projects, actions, and programs to be taken by the city to implement the first year of the Consolidated Plan are:

Lead Agencies

Private property rehabilitation will be carried out by the city of DeKalb using CDBG funds and anticipated additional funds from the Illinois HOME program and the Link Deposit program. Involvement by Community Contacts and local financial institutions is anticipated.

The first-time homebuyer assistance program is to be carried out by the city of DeKalb using CDBG funds. Additional funds are anticipated from the Illinois HOME program. The involvement of local financial institutions is anticipated.

Rental assistance to homeless families and individuals and transitional housing will be carried out by the city of DeKalb; emergency shelter and shelter for victims of domestic violence programs will be carried out by Hope Haven and Safe Passage; and supportive services to the elderly and persons with special needs will be carried out by the Ben Gordon Mental Health Center, Community Contacts, the DeKalb County Health Department, the Family Service Agency, Opportunity Housing, and the Voluntary Action Center. Other participating agencies are to be identified.


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, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects.

MAP 6 is a map, sectioned by neighborhood, which depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects.

MAP 7 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects within one of the four neighborhoods indicated in MAP 6.

MAP 8 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects within another of the four neighborhoods indicated in MAP 6.

To comment on DeKalb's Consolidated Plan, please contact:

Sue Guio, Community Development Assistant
Planning and Development Department
200 South Fourth Street
DeKalb, Illinois 60115
Phone: 815-748-2060
Fax: 815-748-2025

Return to Illinois's Consolidated Plans.