RHI Intro

Regional Housing Initiative

UPDATE

The Regional Housing Initiative will not be accepting applications for 2020 while it focuses on improving programmatic processes. More information to come on when RHI will again accept applications.

Regional Housing Initiative

An important part of implementing ON TO 2050's recommendation for increasing housing choice, particularly options that promote housing affordability in areas near transit, is coordinating resources that guide development decisions. Such resources can be used to implement local plans, including those produced through the Local Technical Assistance program. To address the region's housing challenges, eight housing authorities in the region collaborate through the Regional Housing Initiative (RHI) to support affordable and mixed-income housing developments in opportunity areas. CMAP provides staffing support to RHI.

Since 2002, the public housing authorities participating in RHI have pooled a portion of their available rental assistance vouchers to provide long-term support for the rehabilitation or construction of multifamily, affordable rental homes in opportunity communities across the region. That means RHI can adapt to the changing housing market and economic climate more flexibly than current federal funding flows permit. For example, despite the growing need for affordable housing in the suburbs, the Chicago and Cook County Housing Authorities receive higher levels of voucher subsidies than the suburban housing authorities. By allowing nine housing authorities to pool their resources, RHI created a mechanism through which a suburban housing development can receive subsidies even if the local housing authority lacks resources.

This innovative structure has led to the development of more than 500 apartments in 33 developments in 22 different communities around the region. The Chicago and Cook County Housing Authorities see clear benefits in contributing vouchers to other communities in the region because waiting list families from all nine geographies are offered expanded housing opportunities. This shared list, combined with the voucher portability pilot, is helping more low-income families find homes in attractive communities across the region. It also removes some of the administrative inefficiencies and barriers experienced by participating housing authorities.

While RHI addresses development challenges, an MPC survey of regional public housing authorities showed that most rent voucher holders are not moving into opportunity communities, even as public housing authorities spend $1 million each year to facilitate such moves. In an era of declining federal resources for housing and poverty interventions, in 2011 the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded RHI $1 million to pilot new strategies to help families. Since that time, the Chicago region has been using a regional waiting list for families who want to move into RHI developments and providing education on mobility and portability to support families leaving high poverty, distressed communities for opportunity communities across the region.

Funding

RHI is supported by the member housing authorities of RHI, including the Chicago Housing Authority.

Partners

Chicago Housing Authority
Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning
DuPage Housing Authority
Housing Authority of Cook County
Joliet Housing Authority
Lake County Housing Authority
Kendall Housing Authority
McHenry County Housing Authority
Oak Park Housing Authority
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Regional Housing Initiative

UPDATE

The Regional Housing Initiative will not be accepting applications for 2020 while it focuses on improving programmatic processes. More information to come on when RHI will again accept applications.

Regional Housing Initiative

An important part of implementing ON TO 2050's recommendation for increasing housing choice, particularly options that promote housing affordability in areas near transit, is coordinating resources that guide development decisions. Such resources can be used to implement local plans, including those produced through the Local Technical Assistance program. To address the region's housing challenges, eight housing authorities in the region collaborate through the Regional Housing Initiative (RHI) to support affordable and mixed-income housing developments in opportunity areas. CMAP provides staffing support to RHI.

Since 2002, the public housing authorities participating in RHI have pooled a portion of their available rental assistance vouchers to provide long-term support for the rehabilitation or construction of multifamily, affordable rental homes in opportunity communities across the region. That means RHI can adapt to the changing housing market and economic climate more flexibly than current federal funding flows permit. For example, despite the growing need for affordable housing in the suburbs, the Chicago and Cook County Housing Authorities receive higher levels of voucher subsidies than the suburban housing authorities. By allowing nine housing authorities to pool their resources, RHI created a mechanism through which a suburban housing development can receive subsidies even if the local housing authority lacks resources.

This innovative structure has led to the development of more than 500 apartments in 33 developments in 22 different communities around the region. The Chicago and Cook County Housing Authorities see clear benefits in contributing vouchers to other communities in the region because waiting list families from all nine geographies are offered expanded housing opportunities. This shared list, combined with the voucher portability pilot, is helping more low-income families find homes in attractive communities across the region. It also removes some of the administrative inefficiencies and barriers experienced by participating housing authorities.

While RHI addresses development challenges, an MPC survey of regional public housing authorities showed that most rent voucher holders are not moving into opportunity communities, even as public housing authorities spend $1 million each year to facilitate such moves. In an era of declining federal resources for housing and poverty interventions, in 2011 the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded RHI $1 million to pilot new strategies to help families. Since that time, the Chicago region has been using a regional waiting list for families who want to move into RHI developments and providing education on mobility and portability to support families leaving high poverty, distressed communities for opportunity communities across the region.

Funding

RHI is supported by the member housing authorities of RHI, including the Chicago Housing Authority.

Partners

Chicago Housing Authority
Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning
DuPage Housing Authority
Housing Authority of Cook County
Joliet Housing Authority
Lake County Housing Authority
Kendall Housing Authority
McHenry County Housing Authority
Oak Park Housing Authority
To Top