The village of Skokie, Illinois, is just west of Lake Michigan and is part of the Chicago metropolitan area.
Skokie hopes to have $707,766 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program funds which it will allocate to various projects in its 1995 Consolidated Plan. Some of the key projects include housing repairs, accessibility improvements, and services for physically or developmentally disabled citizens.
Skokie is committed to providing all citizens with an opportunity to participate in planning, implementing, and assessing the Consolidated Plan. The village provides adequate information to its citizens, holds public hearings to solicit citizen opinions, and provides citizens with the opportunity to comment on any aspect of the village's community development efforts.
Each year Skokie conducts three public hearings to involve citizens in the planning and project selection process. These hearing are held before the Village Board of Trustees in the council chambers of the Skokie Village Hall. The hearings are publicized 1 month in advance in the village's monthly newsletter, which is delivered free of charge to all 25,000 households.
The first public hearing was held on March 20, 1995, to explain the Consolidated Plan and to invite public input. The draft plan was available for a 30-day comment period between March 30, 1995, and April 30, 1995, with copies of the plan being placed in the Planning Department of Village Hall and the Skokie Public Library. Skokie held its second hearing on April 17, 1995, and invited public comment on the draft.
An estimated 25 percent of all Skokie households have some housing problem, including 41 percent of all renters and 20 percent of all homeowners. Overcrowding is a major concern. Of extremely low-income (0-30 percent of median family income [MFI]) renter households, about 5 percent are overcrowded. However, among large-family renters, 50 percent are overcrowded. Of low-income (31-50 percent of MFI) large-family renter households, about 32 percent are overcrowded.
The condition of the rental and owner-occupied housing stock in Skokie is generally good. At the time of the 1990 census, 0.1 percent of all rental housing units in Skokie had incomplete plumbing or kitchen facilities, and no owner-occupied housing units had these problems. The village's Building and Zoning Department estimates that about 75 apartments and 90 townhomes are substandard.
In 1990 the median value of an owner-occupied unit in Skokie was $149,500, a 77-percent increase from 1980. In 1995 the median value of a home is estimated at about $170,000. Of the owner-occupied units, 25 percent have a value of $186,000 or more.
Skokie's housing inventory grew by 361 units, rising from 22,089 units in 1980 to 23,170 units in 1990. Of these, 22,708 units were occupied, with more than 75 percent being owner-occupied and 24 percent being rental units. The vacancy rate was only 2 percent.
The most significant problem for extremely low-income households is the cost of housing. About 79 percent of all renter households and 77 percent of all owner households in this income category have cost burdens, paying more than 30 percent of their gross income for housing expenses. Furthermore, 66 percent of the renters and 64 percent of the owner households have severe cost burdens, paying more than 50 percent.
Among low-income households, 69 percent of the renters and 46 percent of owners have cost burdens, paying more than 30 percent of their income for housing. However, only 11 percent of owners and renters have severe cost burdens, paying more than 50 percent.
Among moderate-income (81-95 percent of MFI) households, 23 percent of renter households and 28 percent owner households have cost burdens, paying more than 30 percent of their income for housing. However, only 3 percent of owners and no renters have severe cost burdens, paying more than 50 percent.
Very few affordable homeownership opportunities are available for low- and moderate-income households. Affordable housing construction is not feasible because of insufficient vacant land and high construction costs. The severity of the village's problem is reflected in its low-interest mortgage program for first-time homebuyers. In 1991 only one home was purchased under this program.
Skokie does not have any homeless shelters, and no surveys have assessed the needs of the homeless. The 1990 census conducted a survey of homeless people visible in street locations on a specific night but did not find any homeless people. Given that information, the village has decided not take any additional action concerning homeless needs. The Office of Human Services has the capacity to assist any homeless people who may be identified.
Skokie has 47 units in the Section 8 Existing Housing Program. This program is operated by the Cook County Housing Authority, which administers nearly 6,000 Section 8 certificates or vouchers within its jurisdiction. All Section 8 vouchers or certificates are currently being used. None of the projects have vacancies, and none will be lost from the assisted housing inventory.
The Cook County Housing Authority maintains separate waiting lists for its conventional public housing projects and for its Section 8 Existing Housing Program. Individual localities and projects do not have separate waiting lists. The waiting list for conventional public housing consists of about 1,000 families and 450 elderly people. Furthermore, the waiting list has been closed since 1991 and will probably not be opened again until 1996.
Skokie has a 127-unit facility for the elderly, which is supported by the Cook County Housing Authority. The facility has 1 unit with two bedrooms, and 126 units with one bedroom. Presently, all units are occupied.
The village's housing market and inventory conditions provide a number of constraints to affordable housing, including:
One of the first communities in Illinois to adopt a Fair Housing Ordinance, Skokie has always strived to protect the rights of all citizens. The village's Fair Housing Policy has been successfully implemented for many years and is regularly updated to comply with all Federal fair housing legislative initiatives. The village has an active Human Relations Commission and Human Services Department staff who constantly educate the public and monitor fair housing practices. Fair Housing complaints and violations are extremely rare because of the progressive legislation, constant monitoring, and frequent contact with local realtors and property owners. Skokie's objective is to promote and maintain a racially and ethnically diverse community that meets the needs of all citizens.
Significant lead-based paint problems probably do not exist in the village because the housing is generally in very good condition. Of the current housing stock, about 22,500 units were built before 1979. However, the majority of these were built after 1960, when residential use of lead-based paint became less prevalent. Therefore, the actual number of units containing lead-based paint is probably less than 22,500. An estimated 998 units containing lead-based paint are inhabited by extremely low-income families.
Skokie's health director reports that Skokie does not have a major lead-based paint health problem. Since August 1993, 433 children have been screened for elevated blood-lead levels, and only 13 children tested positive. Six of these children returned for retesting, and all of their blood-lead levels had dropped to normal.
Even though the problem is not severe, the village will pursue the following course of action during the next 5 years:
Skokie does not have specific supportive housing facilities for persons with alcohol and drug addictions or for persons with HIV/AIDS. However, several in-patient treatment programs exist for persons with alcohol and drug addictions.
Skokie identified numerous issues that will be addressed in the Consolidated Plan, including: the need for high quality social services, major infrastructure improvements, and continued economic revitalization efforts. In terms of social service needs, the greatest needs are affordable services for fixed-income seniors, emergency financial assistance, and affordable day care.
Skokie was developed primarily in the 1950s and 1960s, and most of the older infrastructure are unable to meet present demands. Therefore, the village has enacted many major infrastructure repair and replacement projects, which focus on street improvements, sidewalk maintenance, and street lighting improvements.
In terms of economic development, Skokie's primary needs are maintaining a healthy local economy and facilitating the redevelopment of those areas showing signs of deterioration.
In developing the Consolidated Plan, the village surveyed various housing and social service providers in order to assess community needs and resources.
During the next 5 years, the village will focus its resources on the following priority activities:
Skokie will work to enhance its commercial and industrial tax base, to increase employment opportunities, and to coordinate the planning and construction of real estate development projects that benefit the entire village. To meet infrastructure needs, the village will focus on making improvements to streets, sidewalks, and street lighting.
To meet its social service needs, the village will offer programs that focus on teen pregnancy, children's problems, preschool child care, educational and family issues, and emotionally disturbed youth. Services for the mentally ill include basic work skills and behavioral training. The village will also offer programs that focus on in-home assistance for the elderly, elderly abuse, day care for the elderly, and counseling for the elderly and the developmentally disabled.
Although Skokie has a relatively small population living below the poverty level, the needs of this population are most critical. Nearly 2,274 individuals are living in poverty, comprising approximately 471 families. To lower the poverty level, the village's antipoverty strategy will include of the following activities:
A number of resources that can address Skokie's housing and community development problems are available. In addition to Federal resources, the village can access State resources, such as: the Illinois Affordable Housing Trust Fund, Intermediate Care Facilities for the Mentally Retarded, and the Community Integrated Living Arrangements.
Private for-profit resources include a housing rehabilitation program and a reverse mortgage program for homeowner assistance from NBD Skokie Bank's. The Cole Taylor Bank and First American Bank provide housing rehabilitation programs, while the LaSalle Talman Bank provides homebuyer assistance. Nonprofit resources include housing development and a homesharing program from Interfaith Housing Development corporation as well as an emergency assistance program from the Salvation Army.
The Village Planning Department and Plan Commission are responsible for all of Skokie's planning functions. The Planning Department is also responsible for administrating the village's CDBG program. The Building and Zoning Department is responsible for administrating and enforcing the village's building codes and zoning ordinance. The Zoning Board of Appeals is responsible for determining appeal cases stemming from village staff decisions regarding zoning issues. The Office of Human Services provides services to the village's elderly, disabled, and low-income residents. Two advisory councils -- the Advisory Council on Human Services and the Advisory Council on Disabilities -- will continue to work with the Office of Human Services while making recommendations to the mayor and the Village Board of Trustees.
Skokie annually identifies the needs of its residents and allocates CDBG funds to various projects to correct community development problems as they arise. Some of the key projects include:
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.
MAP 9 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded project(s) from a street level vantage point; in addition, a table provides information about the project(s).