LWV-Wilmette Affordable housing action plan
- Monitor Wilmette’s comprehensive plan process; advocating for robust affordable housing component
- Strengthen potential alliances with Joining Forces for Affordable Housing, CPAH and others
- Continue monitoring progress at Cleland Place and Optima/CPAH-specifically keeping updated on the Optima Donation and the planned scope/grant agreement between CPAH and Village
- Monitor/engage with the Housing Commission
- Continue raising awareness of need for, and education about, AH, remembering Village’s past history with focus on the future
affordable housing background
History of Equal Housing in the Northern Suburbs
This document, created by Open Communities and Shorefront Legacy Center, provides an important and insightful chronology of historical events leading to efforts to provide fair and equitable housing on the North Shore.
Affordable Housing in the Village of Wilmette
From late 2021 through 2022, the Village of Wilmette will be undergoing the development of a new Comprehensive Plan, which will guide community priorities over the next decade. Plan development will include a housing component, with a specific focus on this aspect slated for Spring 2022. The Village has indicated, “Understanding housing requires assessing the needs of households at varying income levels, age ranges, and life stages and identifying opportunities to meet those needs. Demographic and socioeconomic conditions and trends, as well as characteristics of market-rate and affordable housing, are studied to understand this essential aspect of the community.”
The community has spoken clearly, and the LWV-Wilmette has advocated, for a robust affordable housing component. The Village Board has indicated a commitment to that.
As part of the last comprehensive plan, developed in 2000, the Village created its first and still current Affordable Housing Plan in 2004 wherein it states, ‘The crux of the Plan is the Village’s ongoing commitment to a proactive but reasoned approach to providing additional affordable housing.” In October 2020, the LWV-W presented information on affordable housing in Wilmette and the newly rechartered Housing and Human Relations Commission. This presentation is an excellent resource for anyone hoping to learn more about affordable housing presently in our Village.
LWV-Wilmette advocated for the Village Board to meet its commitment to the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) request for updated Affordable Housing Plans per the Illinois Affordable Housing Planning & Appeals Act. We asked that they affirm Wilmette’s intention for the upcoming Comprehensive Plan to include a robust affordable housing section.
Village of Wilmette Housing Commission Reinvigorated
In early 2021, the Village Board rechartered the Housing Commission, after it had been dormant since 2015. The LWV-Wilmette has advocated for the importance of this Commission as part of an overall effort to ensure that Wilmette becomes a diverse and accessible community. LWV-W continues to closely follow the work of this Commission.
The Village of Wilmette Board in January 2021 approved the new staff and charter for Wilmette’s Housing Commission here. LWV-Wilmette sent this email correspondence to the Village Administration Committee following the Village Board discussion of the “Boards & Commissions Review” at the June 23, 2020 meeting.
Affordable housing developments
The Cleland Place - 16 Unit Development
In Fall 2021, Wilmette celebrated the opening of the Village’s first non-senior affordable housing, Cleland Place, a 16-unit residential building at 1925 Wilmette Ave. This project came to fruition six years after non-profit developer Housing Opportunity Development Corporation (HODC) initially proposed it. Cleland Place is named for Jean Cleland, a longtime Wilmette resident, a founding board member for HODC, and a longtime advocate for diversity and inclusion in Wilmette.
The building features 10 one-bedroom and six two-bedroom apartments that cost $600 and $800 per month. The average monthly rent for a market rate one-or-two bedroom apartment in Wilmette is $1900. It also has 20 parking spaces, a community room, laundry, security cameras and accessible units. Cleland Place received 117 applicants for the units demonstrating a need for affordable housing in Wilmette.
Funding for the project came from the Illinois Housing Development Authority, National Equity Fund, Wintrust Bank, ComEd (which provided a grant to make the building a green facility) and Housing Authority of Cook County
In November 2020, a ceremony to announce the groundbreaking was on Facebook Live. The LWV-W created a Q&A and video to educate Wilmette residents on affordable housing and to support the Cleland Place PUD process in July 2017. To learn more about the current status of Cleland Place, visit the HODC website.
As of October 2021, Optima has delivered on their commitment to deliver $1.6m to the Village to support affordable housing in Wilmette. Village Manager, Mike Braiman has indicated that the Village is working with its community partners to “leverage the funds” to earn tax credits and turn it into 14 affordable-housing units in town.
The Village has been in discussion with Community Partners for Affordable Housing (CPAH) to support this work. CPAH is a HUD-certified nonprofit organization that develops affordable housing and provides services that empower individuals and families to secure and retain quality housing. CPAH is based in Skokie, Illinois and has helped the cities of Evanston, Highland Park and Lake Forest create affordable housing units.
Throughout the Optima development PUD approval process, the LWV-W actively advocated to ensure affordable housing was included in the final negotiated agreement.
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Interested in learning more or want to be part of our LWV-Wilmette affordable housing advocacy team?
LWVUS POSITION IN BRIEF