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

Consolidated Plan Contact


Incorporated in 1854 the City of Elgin has been an independent urban center in the Chicago Metropolitan area for over 100 years. Because Elgin is an older urban community that has experienced growth over time, the community has a diverse housing stock and population. Economically, the city has evolved from an independent center with ties to the greater Chicago area to a city integrated into the metropolitan area. The most significant trend affecting the community in the last ten years has been an increased rate of growth and development. From 1980 to 1990 the population of Elgin increased by 13,212 persons for a 21% increase in total population. The total population for the City of Elgin in 1990 equaled 77,010.

Action Plan

The Elgin Consolidated Plan presents a strategic vision for housing and community development for the Elgin community. The Plan includes a one year Action Plan for the allocation of $1,061,000 in Community Development Block Grant funding and $112,023 in reprogrammed Community Development Block Grant funding. These funds will be expended primarily for housing and neighborhood improvement activities.

Citizen Participation

The City of Elgin held 33 meetings during the spring and summer of 1994 to identify community needs. The community needs meetings were held as part of the city financial planning process and included the following neighborhood, business and community organizations: City Council, Shiloh Neighborhood Watch, Ford Avenue Neighborhood Watch, Social Service Groups, United Coalition for a Better Elgin, Lords Park Association, College Park McIntosh Homeowners, Elgin Firefighters Union, Hispanic Network, Neighborhood Housing Services, Parkwood Homeowners, United Way Funded Agencies, Museums, Area II Homeowners, Downtown Churches, Economic Development Council, Blackhawk Neighborhood Watch, Environmental Groups, Welcome Wagon, Country Knolls South Subdivision, Elgin Area Board of Realtors, Homeless Coalition, Gail Borden Library Board, Cultural Arts Commission, North Side Neighborhood, Eagle Heights Neighborhood, Elgin Rotary Club, Century Oaks West Manor Homes, Gifford Park Association, Williamsburg Terrace, Williamsburg Common, Elgin Leadership Academy, SEIU Stewards and College Green Townhomes. In addition to the group meetings city staff have been involved with the allocation of United Way agency funding, have attended meetings of the Elgin Cooperative Ministry (discussion of housing issues), have attended the public housing comprehensive improvement program meetings as well as on going discussions with the Salvation Army on the continuation of the PADS homeless emergency shelter program.

The Citizen Participation Plan was distributed to over 140 individuals, organizations and community groups in December of 1994. The Plan was formally adopted as a component of the Consolidated Plan in April of 1995 by the Elgin City Council.


The most significant trend affecting the community in the last ten years has been an increased rate of growth and development. From 1980 to 1990 the population of Elgin increased by 13,212 persons for a total population of 77,010 and a 21% increase in population. Predictably, this increase in population has been accompanied by an increase in housing units and households. The number of housing units increased by 3,051 units for 12.3% increase from 1980. Total housing units equaled 27,936 in 1990. Comparing the population growth rate to the housing growth rate it appears that the housing demand has exceeded the rate of housing supply increases, resulting in a low housing vacancy rate for both rental and owner housing units. In 1980 the overall housing vacancy rate was 5.8% (1,432 units); in 1990 the vacancy rate was 3.8% (1,071 units). The change in vacancy rate resulted in a 25% reduction in the number of vacant housing units between 1980 and 1990 even though the entire housing stock increased by 12.3%.

A second important housing characteristic is that the proportion of the housing stock used as renter and owner occupied housing has changed over the 10 year period. In 1980, renter occupied housing represented 40% of the occupied housing in the city. In 1990, renter occupied housing accounted for 38% of the occupied housing stock, even though 441 rental units were added over the 10 year period. It is anticipated that the rental market will continue to lag behind the owner occupied market for the near term. As a result, the rental housing market will continue to have a low vacancy rate and the potential for increased rents exists.

In addition to the preceding, the City has added significant commercial and industrial employers as part of its overall growth pattern and has set the "stage" for future employment growth through annexations, zoning, infrastructure improvements and transportation planning. The city has historically been a diversified community providing employment, housing and community services to its residents and surrounding populations. Community plans have been intent on maintaining a growth balance among housing, employment and community services to retain the character and enhance the economy of the city. Over the last decade the community has increased its employment base to where it is now the 8th largest industrial city in the state.



The Elgin community is experiencing both the positive and negatives of rapid growth and development. As a result of growth there are more opportunities for employment and housing while at the same time there is more stress on existing community facilities and infrastructure. To enhance the existing city and maintain affordable housing while controlling and locating new development is a primary challenge to the community .

Housing Needs

Extremely Low Income - Based upon the data comparisons and rankings it appears that the greatest number of extremely low income rental housing assistance needs is in the Small Family category followed by the Elderly and Other households. The percentage of households in each household type requiring housing assistance appear to be the extremely low income Large Family and the Other household categories. In the extremely low income owner category it is evident that elderly households represent the greatest numerical and percentage of housing needs, with cost burden being the major housing problem. Of the all the extremely low income owner households the Elderly represented 70% of the households paying more than 30% of income for housing and 32% of the households paying more than 50% of income for housing.

Low Income - Based upon data comparisons and rankings it appears that the greatest number of low income rental housing assistance needs is in the Small Family category followed by the Elderly and Other households. The percentage of households in each household type requiring housing assistance appear to be the low income Large Family and the Other household categories. In the low income owner category it is evident that elderly households represent the greatest numerical and percentage of housing needs, with cost burden being the major housing problem. Of the all the low income owner households the Elderly represented 59% of the households paying more than 30% of income for housing and 44% of the households paying more than 50% of income for housing. However, the owner cost burden category does not recognize or account for a number of mitigating factors. Elderly homeowners often have high equity in homes and other assets that are not calculated as income and therefore are not reflected in the cost burden statistics provided by HUD. Additionally, as a general rule there are more programs that assist the elderly than are available to other low and moderate income groups, particularly the Other Household category. Therefore, the comparison of household income to housing cost may overstate the actual housing assistance needs of the low income elderly category.

Market Conditions

There are 27,936 housing units in the community of which 26,865 (96%) are occupied. Of the occupied housing units a total of 16,736 (62%) are owner occupied and 10,129 (38%) are renter occupied. Of the owner occupied housing units the majority (80%) are single family detached housing units, with attached single family accounting for 6%, mobile homes for 6% and two unit structures accounting for 5%. The type of housing structure occupied by renters is more diverse than owner occupied housing. The rental housing market is composed of single family detached housing accounting for 11% of the renter occupied housing units; attached single family for 8%; two unit structures for 19%; 3 to 4 unit structures for 13%; 5 to 9 unit structures for 24%; 10 to 19 unit structures for 10%; 20 to 49 unit structures for 8%; and, 50 units and over structures accounting for 6% of the occupied rental units.

The 1980 to 1990 decade represented a strong growth period for the community. Household formation both by number (2,959) and by percentage was less than the population change (21%) and nearly equal to the housing unit change. The higher increase in population is reflective of the fact that for the first time in 40 years both the average number of persons per household and the average family size increased. The average household size increased from 2.64 persons in 1980 to 2.81 persons in 1990. The average family size increased from 3.22 persons in 1980 to 3.39 persons in 1990. The recent trend of increasing household size is further reflected in the following household size data.

The increase in household and family size and the higher growth rate of larger households is representative of the growth of the minority population, which tends to have a greater number of persons per household. The increase in household size is also a response to the low housing vacancy rate which causes people to remain in households longer and to share housing units.

Housing demand has been exceeding housing supply in the community over the last ten years. Unless, or until, more affordable housing is provided in surrounding communities it is expected that demand will continue to exceed supply regardless of the growth rate of the community and additions to the housing stock.

Affordable Housing Needs

In order to assess change in overall housing affordability in the community, a general comparison of income to housing costs needs to be conducted. The percentage change in income may be compared to changes in housing costs as a gauge in estimating if incomes are keeping pace with overall housing costs. The most comparative unit of measure to estimate the rate of change is median household income to median housing unit cost. The median household income in the city increased 80% from 1980 to 1990 (1980 = $19,747; 1990 = $35,546). At the same time the median owner occupied housing value increased by 55% (1980 = $62,200; 1990 = $96,300) and the median gross rent increased by 87% (1980 = $268; 1990 $501). Thus, it would appear that, in general, income increases have kept pace with housing cost increases. However, as stated previously the low vacancy rate and the reduced rate of rental housing production appear to have raised rental costs at a greater rate. The rate of increase in rents affects very low income households the most, since these households are more dependent on the rental market for housing. However, it would also appear that more households may be able to purchase housing since overall the median household income increase was greater than the owner occupied housing unit cost increase. This trend may also explain the high demand for owner occupied housing reflected in the change of the proportionate renter/owner share of the overall housing stock and the low vacancy rate (1.2%) for owner occupied housing. Of concern to the community, is the reality that the city provides some of the most affordable housing in the northwest metropolitan area. Even as the community attempts to meet the housing needs of its residents, housing demand will continue to rise regardless of additional housing supply simply because the community is "affordable". The entire issue of affordable housing needs to be addressed on a regional basis rather than on an "entitlement" city or urban county basis

Homeless Needs

Two service providers furnish the majority of shelter capacity in the community - the Salvation Army in conjunction with the local PADS program and the Community Crisis Center. From surveys returned by these two organizations it appears that the 1990 Census information may be an undercount of the homeless population, probably primarily because of the date in time the Census information was gathered. In February of 1993 the average night occupancy for both of these facilities totaled 70 persons of whom 24 (34%) were identified as children. It has been the experience of the shelter providers that more families with children have utilized the shelters than previously. The Community Crisis Center, which provides for longer stays than overnight, has indicated that clients are staying longer at the facility than in previous years often due to the difficulty of locating alternate housing, with the cost of housing (and required security deposits) being a primary factor in obtaining housing. The combined percentage of repeat clients for the two facilities is 63%. The high percentage of repeat clients indicate the difficulty of obtaining other shelter or the option of alternative housing. Additionally, both shelter facilities indicate that 100% of the clients served are homeless. Since the percentage of repeat clients is so high the number of homeless persons has not been adjusted from the counts submitted by the shelter providers.

Public and Assisted Housing Needs

The Housing Authority of Elgin has substantial waiting lists for both public housing and the Section 8 Program. As of March, 419 applicants were listed on the public housing waiting list. The Section 8 Program waiting list is opened each year for one week during the first week in March. A total of 845 applicants are on the waiting list currently. Approximately 65% of applicants on the waiting lists meet federal preference guidelines.

Barriers to Affordable Housing

Tax Policies: The City of Elgin has attempted to restrain the municipal tax levy. Since 1989 the overall change in the municipal tax rate has been a 2.6% increase. It has been a policy of the City Council to refrain from tax rate increases.

Zoning Policies: The City of Elgin has attempted to recognize previous patterns and forms of development within the context of a comprehensive revision to the local zoning ordinance which became effective in 1992. The 1992 zoning ordinance recognizes and provides for residential conservation zoning districts which contain minimum requirements of lot area, lot width, building setbacks, etc. that are complimentary to the era of development for different portions of the city. These type of provisions minimize the negative impact more contemporary zoning requirements could have on the existing housing stock.

The city's zoning ordinance provides zoning categories for single family, two family, multi-family and planned housing developments thus promoting a wide variety of housing types and a range of housing costs. The zoning ordinance is non-exclusionary and promotes the rational utilization of land, the avoidance of land use conflicts and provides the opportunity for the construction of affordable housing.

Building Codes: The city's building code is based upon the BOCA National Building Code. The adoption a standardized building code avoids the additional costs associated with idiosyncrasies of communities having unique codes that are unlike any other code for standard building requirements.

Fair Housing

The city provides a Fair Housing Office and staff for services to individuals who may have encountered housing discrimination. This position is funded by the city's General Fund and is not dependent upon the CDBG Program. Federal funding has assisted in the development of a fair housing ordinance and associated documents. The city has a long history in human relations and anti-discrimination services.

Lead-Based Paint

In 1990 the City of Elgin contained 27,936 dwelling units of which 18,312 were estimated to contain lead based paint. It was further estimated that 14,674 dwelling units were affordable to low and moderate income households. Of the affordable housing units a total of 11,173 dwelling units were estimated to contain lead based paint.

The number of lead poisoning cases in the community have risen as the amount of blood testing has increased. With the 1993 requirement that all children must be tested for blood lead levels for kindergarten and first grade the number of reported lead poisoning cases have increased and it is anticipated that the number of reported cases will continue to increase in the short term. From 1990 to 1993 the number of reported lead cases referred to the city's Health Officer have totaled 186. In 1994 a total of 72 lead poisoning cases were reported.

Community Development Needs

In the last decade the city has expanded and developed economically to where it is now the 8th largest industrial city in Illinois (a decade ago the city was ranked as number 15). During the last decade the city annexed and developed residential, commercial and industrial properties effectively maintaining a balanced economic growth pattern. Along with the growth pattern has been a diversity of job creation providing a broad range of job types and required skill levels. Thus the non-housing community development issues and needs for Elgin are more qualitative than census statistically related (quantitative). Simply, many of the non-housing community development needs relate to quality of life and living environment.

In particular there are needs for improved and expanded parks and associated linkages (pedestrian ways, bicycle ways, etc.). Few community or public facilities have been added over the last decade and are needed to serve the existing and expanded population of the city, particularly the youth of the community. The aging infrastructure needs attention (streets, lights, storm sewers, bridges, dams, water mains). Transportation planning needs to be accomplished to provide for efficient traffic movement in a river city with a limited number of bridge crossings and ,even more limited, street continuity. Neighborhood problems need to be addressed holistically from housing quality to crime prevention.


The City of Elgin coordinates with neighborhood groups and social service organizations in the planning process for the overall Consolidated Plan and the annual plan. Implementation of activities involves a variety of partnerships and city departments to complete the funded activities.


Vision for Change

To develop and nurture a liveable community that offers a broad range of housing choices, living environments, public facilities and economic opportunities for all community residents.

Housing and Community Development Objectives and Priorities

The general housing priority for the community is the maintenance and improvement of the existing older housing stock. The older housing stock is typically the most affordable housing available in the community. An overall emphasis for community development is the improvement of older neighborhoods and the provision of facilities and activities for youth in the community.

Housing Priorities

One - Maintain the existing affordable housing stock through the repair and rehabilitation of renter and owner occupied housing units. Based upon the number of housing units that are affordable to the low income population, the location of the affordable housing units, the age of the housing stock and the number of substandard housing units, the maintenance of the existing housing stock is of primary importance to the community. The maintenance of the existing housing stock would be of benefit to the elderly (renter and homeowner), small families and large families who exhibit the greatest cost burdens and are least able to afford housing maintenance repair and more likely to reside in deteriorated housing.

Two - Provide for the testing and abatement of lead based paint hazards. Based upon the extent of older housing units in the community and the number of lead poisoning cases reported, the local testing for lead based paint hazards is of significance. Additionally, considering that low income families at most at risk for lead poisoning, have generally younger aged households and occupy housing units with the potential for lead hazard it is important to provide an affordable and safe housing environment. Of the estimated number of housing units containing lead based paint (18,312) 65% are considered affordable to low income households. Based upon recent experience it is estimated that approximately 60 housing units per year require some lead paint abatement.

Three - Improve the existing public housing stock by accomplishing repairs and improvements not funded by federal funds. The public housing stock is an important housing element for extremely low income families and families with severe cost burden. The improvement of the public housing environment including play areas, handicapped accessibility and fire safety is of importance to the quality of life for public housing residents and the surrounding residential areas.

Four - Maintain the level of existing rental housing assistance in the community. Based upon the extremely low income and low income housing assistance needs identified the Section 8 certificate and voucher program is of prime importance for many families. It is estimated that approximately 985 certificates and vouchers are provided in the community (both public housing managed and private project based Section 8). At a minimum the maintenance of the existing level of assistance is of prime importance to providing affordable housing. In addition to Section 8 the maintenance of affordable rental units via other programs will be necessary.

Five - Increase the rate of homeownership in the community, particularly for first time homebuyers. A total of 62% of all occupied housing units are home owner occupied within the community. By assisting low income households in homeownership will further the long term investment of these households in the community. With the current interest rates the opportunity exists for increased homeownership particularly for the Moderate Income households.

Non-Housing Community Development Priorities

One - Improve the living environment of the neighborhoods in the community through coordinated and complimentary programs and actions. Over the next five the following is planned for the city's neighborhoods: Rental Licensing Program and Inspection of Rental Housing Units; Additional Resident Police Officers; Housing Architectural Restoration Program; Neighborhood Street Reconstruction; Neighborhood Improvement Program; Neighborhood Planner; Neighborhood Housing Services Support; Street Lighting; Traffic Control; Selective Street Closure.

Two - Provide increased programming and facilities for youth in the community. Some of the actions planned include: Boys and Girls Club Support; Summer Youth Employment Program; Elgin Recreation Center Support; Children's Museum expansions and rehabilitation.

Three - Expand and improve existing parks and recreational opportunities. Neighborhood parks improvements; District park improvements; Addition of a Community Recreation Center.

Four - Continue capital improvements to support and enhance the economic community and business areas. Downtown street lighting; Transportation corridor improvements; Parking improvements in the downtown area; Vacate and reuse the inappropriate railroad in the downtown area; Continued support for the business facade improvement program; Facilitate and support the I-90/Randall Road Interchange.

Anti-Poverty Strategy

The population of persons below the poverty level by age is composed of the following groupings: 40% under the age of 17, 51% between the ages of 18 and 64 and 9% over 65 years of age. Because a certain amount of poverty will exist by simply having public housing units and Section 8 rental assistance thus providing shelter for those in poverty an element needing to be addressed are those in poverty not being provided assistance for shelter and services. At this time there is no available data to assess the population in poverty not receiving services.

Programs that currently exist that provide avenues and assistance for addressing poverty include low cost day care to allow parents to work and have affordable day care for children; job training through state, federal and local programs; educational opportunities as well as such services as food pantries, free clinics, clothing centers, and assisted housing. There is no accurate means to gauge how many households have used these programs and how many households that have been or could have been in poverty has been reduced by these programs. A gauge of the effectiveness of local programs may be that the percentage of the local population in poverty changed very little over the 1980 - 1990 decade (7.4% in 1980 and 7.7% in 1990) compared to a national increase in the percentage of population in poverty. The community will continue to provide the opportunity for persons in poverty to obtain educational skills, job training and support services.

Housing and Community Development Resources

The primary federal resources available to the Elgin community are Community Development Block Grant, Section 8, and public housing, Resources available from the state include the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, Weatherization Program and Energy Assistance Program. A prominent local resource is the Neighborhood Housing Services of Elgin as well as the Community Crisis Center, the Wayside Center, Salvation Army and Elgin Township.

Coordination of Strategic Plan

In general the City of Elgin Planning Department is charged with coordinating the strategic plan in conjunction with the Planning and Development Commission, the Elgin City Council and the City Manager's Office. The City and its departments coordinate with a variety of social service organizations, neighborhood associations and other community organizations.


Description of Key Projects

The One-Year Action Plan for the City of Elgin focuses on housing and neighborhood improvements, including:


Most of the projects listed are targeted to low and moderate income neighborhoods in the community or are directed toward services and activities benefitting low and moderate income persons. The following maps of the entire community are attached: points of interest, outlined low-mod areas, ethnic breakdown and areas of minority concentration, unemployment and CDBG projects.

Lead Agencies

The Elgin City Council designated the Planning Department as the lead agency for implementing key projects and programs.

Housing Goals

Highlights of the City of Elgin housing goals for the first year include rehabilitating approximately 70 housing units. It is estimated that 56 of the rehabilitated dwelling units will be occupied by low and moderate income households. Additionally, it is estimated that a minimum of 27 public housing households will benefit from planned improvements to public housing.


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 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded project(s) from a street level vantage point.

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

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

Patricia Andrews
Associate Planner
Planning Department
City of Elgin
PH: 708/931-5910

Return to Illinois' Consolidated Plans.