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Working together to combat the affordable-housing crisis

All of us, as members of communities who care for our neighbors’ well-being, have a call to actively take steps toward potential solutions for the affordable-housing crisis.

Tim Wayman, Chair, FamilyForward Board of Directors
Tim Wayman, Chair, FamilyForward Board of Directors

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, housing is the key to reducing intergenerational poverty and increasing economic mobility. Research shows that increasing access to affordable housing is the most cost-effective strategy to reduce childhood poverty and increase economic mobility in the United States. 

Affordable housing is generally defined as housing that costs no more than 30% of household income. Rising rents, a loss of low-cost housing and an increase in the number of low-income renters only exacerbate the affordable-housing dilemma. While FamilyForward does its part to assist lower income families in need, the challenge is immense. All of us, as members of communities who care for our neighbors’ well-being, have a call to actively take steps toward potential solutions.

In this vein, representing the FamilyForward Board of Directors, I recently emailed the Arlington Heights Village Board to convey our support of the proposed Grace Terrace Development. The project calls for a three-story Permanent Supportive Housing facility to include 25 units at 1519 S. Arlington Heights Road. The facility would accommodate individuals with disabilities and target local veterans with the goal to provide stable housing coupled with supportive services. While the demographics of individuals and families served by Grace Terrace most likely will be different from those of FamilyForward’s client families, we support practical efforts to provide affordable housing to any persons in need.

Citing lessons learned through our own experience, an excerpt of my message sent to Arlington Heights Village leaders follows:

There is clearly a need for more affordable housing in and around our community. As rents continue to climb, more and more individuals and families are spending in excess of 30% — and often more than 50% — of their income on housing. The development of Crescent Place was an important step forward in helping low-income families who greatly contribute to our community to be able to live within our community. As homeowners who live only a few blocks from Crescent Place, my wife and I heard from many NIMBY neighbors who feared property devaluation, increased levels of crime, and additional traffic congestion. None of these fears have become reality, and we at FamilyForward are proud to have actively supported the Crescent Place initiative. We are now blessed to have an attractive building, on a parcel of land where no business could succeed, that benefits those hardworking residents who need it most.”

As they say, “It takes a community!” Join us in becoming an advocate of well-planned initiatives aiming to increase the availability of affordable housing in the northwest suburbs.


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