Winnetka is not the only northern suburb dealing with questions about affordable housing. In 2010, Highland Park, Glencoe, Lake Forest, Kenilworth, Northbrook, Northfield and Wilmette all were cited by the Illinois Housing Development Authority as among the 49 Illinois communities with less than 10 percent affordable housing. According to the Affordable Housing Planning and Appeal Act, all such communities must submit a plan for how they will incorporate affordable housing to the Illinois Housing Development Authority.
Chicago Tonight spoke with Gail Schechter, Executive Director of the Interfaith Housing Center of the Northern Suburbs, about what the communities surrounding Winnetka are doing about affordable housing. Here’s what she had to say:
Highland Park: “They passed a Comprehensive Plan that prioritized diversity and affordable housing. Then they commissioned a study and a plan. UIC’s Voorhees Center was selected back in 2000 or so. Over the span of about 3-4 years, Highland Park created an Affordable Housing Trust Fund funded by a teardown tax, a Community Land Trust to use these funds to create affordable housing, and an inclusionary zoning ordinance to mandate an affordable housing set-aside in new multi-family developments. Highland Park had public housing for seniors and families that predated this newer housing.”
Glencoe: “This community has no subsidized housing at all. Glencoe has been extremely resistant to any affordable housing. [The community] submitted an affordable housing plan per the Affordable Housing Planning and Appeal Act.”
Kenilworth: “Like Glencoe and Winnetka, there’s no subsidized housing here at all. They did do an Affordable Housing Planning and Appeal Act plan. As far as I know, they’re not planning on doing anything. It’s a very small community.”
Northbrook: “Northbrook has made affordable housing a priority in its new Comprehensive Plan. The plan passed in December 2010. Northbrook has one subsidized senior rental building called Crestwood Place. It’s a school that was converted to housing. There’s been talk for years about expanding Crestwood but nothing’s happened.”
Northfield: “Northfield has no subsidized housing.”
Wilmette: “They have two subsidized senior rental buildings dating back to the ’80s, a senior affordable condo building and 11 affordable units carved out in the high-end Mallinckrodt condo building, which has about 85 condos, also all for seniors. Wilmette did comply with its affordable housing plan, but nothing’s been implemented yet.”
To hear about Winnetka’s affordable housing battle, watch Chicago Tonight at 7:00 pm.