The Village of Oak Park is an old line suburb just west of the City of Chicago. First incorporated in 1902 and fully developed by 1930, it draws fame from being the home of authors Ernest Hemingway and Edgar Rice Burroughs. It also has the greatest concentration of buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in the world. Oak Park has almost no industries and a relatively small commercial base. Consequently, the tax base is borne by its residential owners.
The Oak Park Consolidated Plan presents a vision for housing and community development in a unique suburb. It includes a One-Year Action Plan for spending approximately $2,403,325 million of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds. These funds will be spent on housing rehabilitation, economic development, public facilities, public services, and fair housing activities.
In August 1994, the Director of Community and Economic Development, formed a
task force comprised of six Village staff members, two trustees, and
representatives of fourteen local agencies, to initiate the development of a
Consolidated Plan. The task force mailed out requests for input in the
Consolidated Plan process on August 12, 1994, to 83 agencies serving Oak Park
residents. Simultaneously, the Village sent letters to five surrounding
municipalities, to Cook County and the State of Illinois inviting comments about
the proposed plan. A public meeting was held by the Task Force on August 24,
1994 to take testimony from the public. On August 31, 1994, a press release
describing the development of the Plan was made, which invited further public
comment. The following day, on September 1, 1994, and open letter was mailed to
all residents explaining the planning process. On September 7, 1994, an article
appeared in the local newspaper followed by an article printed in the Village's
FYI newsletter and mailed to all residents. A synopsis of the Plan was
published in the local newspaper on September 14, 1994, with draft copies being
made available to the public on the following day. A final version of the Plan
was made available at the beginning of October, and a final public hearing was
held on October 5, 1994.
Oak Park is one of Chicago's oldest suburbs. Located just west of the Chicago city limits, Oak Park is served by one expressway, one commuter railroad and two elevated mass transit lines. According to the 1990 census, the population of Oak Park was 53,648 down 3% from 1980. The village can be characterized as a fairly economically diverse community. The majority of Oak Park's residents are white (75%), followed by (20%) being black and (5%) being other minorities.
The median family income in 1990 was $40,453, with 6,261 (27.8%) being low
income. Of this figure, 3,039 were very-low and extremely low-income, and 3,222
were other low- income.
The Village is a typical "bedroom" community of Chicago. It has no major employment centers within the community. The largest employers are the school district, the Village and the local hospital, all averaging 500 employees. Unemployment levels have remained low, (3.6% in 1994).
In general, there is no relationship between race and housing problems. Issues of housing affordability affects all races. While vacancy rates are low,( 2%), there is ample turnover of both rental and owner occupied units provides housing opportunities. In general, the age of the housing stock (both owner and renter) leads to a continuous high cost of maintenance and rehabilitation.
The Village sees little or no change in its current housing needs and population over the next five years. The overall market in Oak Park is strong. Both renter and owner housing reveals a continuing strong market with low vacancy rates and good rent and purchase levels. Major conditions for owner housing include:
Major conditions for renter housing include:
Between 80%-82% of the small family related and other households (very low and extremely low) pay more than 50% of their income to rent, revealing a need for additional subsidized housing. With respect to low income renter households, 2,961 or 67.9% have housing problems. This compares to 424, or 22.3% of low income owner households who have housing problems.
During F, the Emergency Shelter Program sheltered 314 individuals. A total of 240 households, consisting of 327 individuals, were referred to other shelters or agencies during the same period. Of these, 206 were black, 109 were white, 9 were Hispanic, 1 was Asian, and 2 were Native American.
There is one public housing building located in Oak Park. The building, constructed in 1974, contains 200 elderly individuals in 198 units. Thirteen residents are handicapped. Further, the building has a waiting list of 140 Oak Park residents.
There are 422 Section 8 (Certificate & Voucher) units scattered throughout the Village. There is a waiting of 2,317 households, of which approximately 1,000 are Oak Park households.
The greatest barrier to affordable housing in Oak Park is its high cost to buy, rent and maintain. This is due to the Village's historic efforts to maintain high quality housing standards as seen through its housing code enforcement. The only practical means around this natural economic barrier would be to increase the number of units receiving a subsidy.
In 1972, the Village created a Community Relations Department to enforce its Open Housing Ordinance. The ordinance guarantees all persons living in or desiring to live in the Village, a fair opportunity to purchase, lease, rent or occupy housing or real estate.
The Village's Fair Housing Policy has been successfully implemented. The minority population in 1990 stood at 23% compared to 1% in 1970. The Village has been able to maintain its quality of life by using a multitude of approaches which involve the entire community.
Oak Park estimates that there are 16,957 (75%) out of 22,511 contain lead-based paint, with a small number being abated each year. Coupled with an annual mean birth rate of 786, a large number of Oak Park children may be at risk for lead poisoning from the home environment for sometime to come.
The present Oak Park Health Department program is adequately addressing the problem of lead poisoning in children. However, more can be done in terms of assessing the lead poisoning potential of Oak Park's housing stock and making the public aware of the problem.
As an integral part of the development of the Consolidated Plan, the Village has identified its non-housing community development needs in three distinct areas: social services, economic development and infrastructure.
The Village has used its CDBG funds in a way that enhances its success at
coordinating the efforts of private and public providers/agencies. The
Consolidated Plan requires that agencies, organizations or individuals who
provide services to be brought together to determine needs and ultimately
receive Federal funds.
To maintain the quality of the life within the Village through the maintenance of its housing stock, social services, economic development, and infrastructure.
There are four general housing priorities. These include:
There are three general community development priorities. These include:
Loans and grants made for economic development projects are contingent on providing jobs to low and moderate income people.
Within Oak Park, 38 Federal, state local or private programs currently provide services to the community. The primary Federal resources include CDBG, HOME, Section 8, public housing, and Emergency Shelter Programs. Resources available from the state include the Illinois Housing Development Authority (Loan and Grant Program). Local resources include funds from the Village itself and private local lending institutions.
The Village of Oak Park through the Department of Community and Economic
Development, is responsible for the Consolidated Plan and requires a coordinated
effort from a variety of public and private agencies involved in administering
The Oak Park On-Year Action Plan outlines the use of $2,782,075 million in CDBG and HOME funds (including program income). These funds will be spent on an array of housing and community development activities, which include the following:
Funds are distributed on a village-wide basis, based on income qualifications.
The Community and Economic Development Department has prime responsibility for administering HUD funds. The Oak Park Housing Authority is responsible for administering the elderly public housing facility and the Section 8 program.
Highlights of Oak Park's housing goals for the first year include: the rehabilitation of 25 single family units, assisting 13 first time homebuyers, rehabilitating 30 affordable rental units, rehabilitating 12 dwelling units for special needs residents, and housing 800 homeless people in existing shelters.
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; in addition, a table provides information about the project(s).
MAP 6 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects.
MAP 7 depicts Neighborhood Segments and streets with proposed HUD funded projects.
Fred Zinke, Senior Planner
Telephone # (708) 383-6400, Extension 2280
Fax # (708) 383-6692