Voice & Partners “In the News”

In many countries, people in most need of food, shelter and services are provided for by direct government support. In the USA, where we heavily rely on non-profit organizations to provide these basic needs, funding and technical/programmatic challenges are significant and perpetual. The story in the Tribune of the Heartland Alliance saga provides context for this with painful details.

Amid crises, however, comes opportunities for other organizations to step up, and in the case of service-enriched affordable housing, preserving properties that are home to residents who represent the cornerstone of racial, economic, and needs diversity in communities like Uptown. Voice is seeking to save one of many buildings at risk of sale to the marketplace — the San Miguel Apartments — by partnering with the National Housing Partnership Foundation. We are also pressing for solutions with our advocate partners and legislative leaders to save even more. Read Article.

Tax Relief for Affordable Housing Owners

Senator Mike Simmons and Voice of the People in Uptown is inviting representatives of affordable housing owners to “Meet the Commissioner” — Samantha Steele of the Cook County Board of Review at a short presentation and reception Wednesday, July 19th, 4 pm at Truman College.

You’ll want to meet Ms. Steele, District 2 Commissioner, who has been elected by citizens of northern Chicagoland and charged with helping to make our property tax system more fair and equitable through property tax appeals.

She’ll be joined by other recently elected public officials, including 13th District State Representative Hoan Huynh and Alderwoman Angela Clay of the 46th Ward, who are committed to advancing support to affordable housing owners who are key to maintaining the economic, racial and needs diversity we have in Chicago communities. SEE OUR ANNOUNCEMENT FLYER.

Sen. Mike Simmons, session host, along with Voice of the People, a non-profit and tenant-led housing organization, are bringing affordable housing owners together on issues of common concern, beginning with property taxes.

Property taxes that are too high can threaten cash flows and long term viability of affordable housing developments — even as owners absorb hidden “social costs” not always reflected in the property financial statements, nor submitted as background for assessment and appeals. This will be the subject of a short presentation by our resource person, Craig Donnewald, Esq. of Finkel Martwick & Colson.

The information is not legal advice, but guidance to non-profit and affordable housing owners or partner representatives, asset managers and property management professionals who work closely with legal counsel or consultants seeking relief with property tax appeals.

If you’d like to attend, please rsvp to events@vophousing.com or call 773.769.2442 for more information.

Heart of Uptown Apartments Announced

Voice of the People in Uptown with its partner, Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH), is proud to announce plans for the upgrade of five residential properties with 103 leased homes beginning as early as the Fall 2024. Residents who live in these buildings are providing their input into the process with meetings kicking off a year in advance ! Read the full project description here.

If you live in buildings at 847 W Sunnyside, 4130 N. Kenmore, 927 W. Wilson, 4431-41 N. Clifton, 900-02 W. Windsor/Hazel, the first meeting will be at Wilson Abbey, 939 W. Wilson Avenue, Thursday, May 25th at 6:00 pm. Dinner will be served at the accessible third-floor location next to Everybody’s Coffee.

Residents of these properties can fill out a survey of improvements they recommend for their apartment and building — on flyers or with the Survey Online.   Learn more or check for updates on the proposed redevelopment called the Heart of Uptown Apartments or HUPA.  Follow the link to the HUPA Home Page, where information will be updated on planned improvements and resident services.

Both Voice and POAH have policies of Development Without Displacement and believe affordable housing is the key to achieving sustainable economic, racial, and needs diversity in the Uptown Community of Chicago.

46th Ward Statement

Angela Clay is a long-time former tenant, board leader and president of four years, and now the winning candidate for 46th Ward Alderperson. The election has brought attention to the importance and challenges in creating and maintaining affordable housing, which is critical to sustaining economic and racial diversity in Uptown.  Read Our Statement.

The Dovie Thurman Affordable Housing Trust

Following board action in the fall of 2022, Voice of the People has authorized the formation of an Affordable Housing Trust named after a legendary tenant and community leader, Dovie Thurman. Incorporated in January 2023, the Trust will be dedicated to assuring permanent affordability of housing that is adequately supported by advantaged access to economic and resident services benefits. The initiative will start-up over two years, include three Voice owned properties, and be opened up to include other eligible affordable housing owners and developments thereafter. Read Announcement. If you believe in a vision of sustainably diverse Chicago communities and want to learn about, or endorse, the governing principles of the Dovie Thurman Affordable Housing Trust, visit our web page for Trust Allies and Supporters.

Property Owners Need Love Too

Over time, our organization seeks to be a voice and resource center in support of affordable housing residents and owners — so that residents can meet their needs and achieve their goals, and owners can viably continue affordable housing into the future. Our cornerstone program Resident Opportunity Services (ROS) and the newer Voice Owners Network (VON) are programs intended to expedite such services.

Initial VON outreach for owner assistance services is happening now to affordable housing development sponsors in Uptown, as well as private owners who have mixed-income housing with rent subsidies. Priority #1 is supporting our collective interests in achieving property tax relief through appeals in process with the Assessor’s Office and with appeals agencies like the Cook County Board of Review… favorable taxes helps to maintain affordable housing and sustain racial/economic diversity.

To protect and preserve affordable housing into the future, Voice will seek to help owners, including their asset managers, property managers, and resident service providers, to build their capacity via networking among professionals, and sharing access to information and resources so that they might increase their revenues, decrease their costs, access funding, subsidized financing and technical assistance that makes their affordable housing developments socially and economically sustainable.

Owners, managers and tenant service providers can see our MAKING HISTORY VIDEO,  or READ MORE about announcement and proposed networking and services that could be available in the future. People can CALL 773.769.2442 to schedule a brief informational interview about the Voice Owner’s Network, or simply go online to REGISTER specific interests, and stay current with related news and activities.