05212019CW0058rSPRINGFIELD–State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago, 3rd) joined community leaders and affordable housing advocates from across Illinois at the State Capitol today in calling for more investments in affordable housing in the capital budget.

“Right now, we have an opportunity – one that has not come around in more than a decade – to make a sizable impact on the affordable housing needs of our communities,” said Hunter, the Chairman of the Senate’s Special Committee on Housing. “There are neighborhoods in my district that are still struggling to recover from the economic crisis and are starved for investment, and I know that many communities across the state from urban, suburban and rural communities face similar challenges.”

Last week, Gov. JB Pritzker proposed investing $175 million for affordable housing in the capital budget. Hunter unified with a coalition of housing developers, supportive housing providers, municipal government and community-based organizations to urge the General Assembly to expand on this foundation by allocating additional funds to create stronger communities by expanding access to safe, decent and affordable housing.

Hunter was joined by leaders from Chicago Lawn, a historically working class neighborhood in her district that has been known as a place for families of all kinds to establish themselves and start on a path toward economic success. In 2008, the area became overwhelmed with more than 11,000 foreclosures – leaving the neighborhood empty and riddled with challenges of increased violence, struggling schools and a poor economy.

However, an investment in a 2009 state capital budget funds for affordable housing helped to change the path of this community, Hunter said. $900,000 in capital budget dollars were leveraged into more than $15 million worth of investments in Chicago Lawn, helping to transform 75 vacant buildings back into rehabbed, occupied housing on the tax rolls, creating 100 affordable homes and apartments, decreasing crime by more than 60 percent, and significantly improving the quality of local schools.

“We can create more success stories in our neighborhoods in need of investment if we allocate capital dollars for affordable housing,” Hunter said. “Chicago Lawn is an excellent example of the tremendous transformation that can occur if we invest in our neighborhoods.”


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