Housing authorities are allowed to use up to 20 percent of their vouchers as “project-based” vouchers, which are attached to a specific unit. While most mobility programs focus on expanding the mobility of tenant-based vouchers, the use of project-based vouchers in high-opportunity areas may also be an effective way to achieve the same result and may result in long-term affordability that cannot be achieved through the HCV program. Channeling affordable housing development into targeted areas (e.g., high-income and high-opportunity neighborhoods) can circumvent many of the barriers faced by tenant-based voucher holders (e.g., landlord resistance or difficulty locating a suitable unit). Project-based solutions can be an efficient way to ensure there is an adequate supply of rental units in high-opportunity areas.
Since 2002, the nonprofit Metropolitan Planning Council, the Illinois Housing Development Authority and now 10 housing authorities across the Chicago region have joined together to form the Regional Housing Initiative (RHI). To address the lack of housing options in higher-opportunity, often suburban, communities in the region, participating housing authorities pool a portion of their available vouchers to provide support for the rehabilitation and construction of project-based units. This regional collaboration has been integral in the development of units in smaller jurisdictions, which would not otherwise have enough voucher capacity to finance a project on their own.
Since the RHI was formed, it has helped finance 406 apartments in 28 developments through the pooling and transferring of project-based vouchers. The RHI has also created a regional waiting list for families seeking to live in these developments. While the Chicago and Cook County housing authorities have contributed the greatest number of vouchers (as they have much higher voucher allocations and staff capacity than smaller, suburban housing authorities), Chicago and Cook County are able to benefit from their contribution because waiting list families in their jurisdictions have equal access to housing opportunities throughout the 19 communities in the region.
For More Info:
Breann Gala, Chicago Metropolitan Planning Council
Email: [email protected]