About a quarter of Park Ridge homeowners and about a third of renters are paying more than they can afford for their housing, according to a study discussed at a city Committee of the Whole meeting Feb. 7.
At a presentation meant to inform an affordable housing plan that Park Ridge is required to submit under state law, representatives from the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning told aldermen that regarding homeowners, 26% in Park Ridge are paying more than 30% of their income in living costs, though they said that rate has decreased since 2010.
Regarding renters, 34% are paying more than 30% of their income in living costs, an increase since 2010, they said.
Metropolitan Mayors Caucus Director of Housing and Community Development Initiatives Kyle Smith said the results of the group’s research pointed to “some kind of policy intervention on rental… and particularly on affordable supply.”
Other major takeaways from the group’s data collection are that both the city’s housing stock and its homeowner population are aging.
That wasn’t a surprise to Community Preservation and Development Director Drew Awsumb.
“We all know people love Park Ridge,” he told City Council. “They want to stay in their homes, or if they want to downsize… they’d really like to stay in Park Ridge. That comes through in the data.”
The task now, Awsumb said, is to answer the question “who is Park Ridge today and how do you write a housing plan for that?”
A state law passed in 2021 requires municipalities with less than 10% of their housing stock priced affordably to submit a plan to the state for how that municipality plans to make at least that fraction of its housing stock affordable. Currently, about 8% of Park Ridge’s housing is priced affordably, although that number will be updated at the end of this year.
Fifth Ward Ald. Charlie Melidosian observed, “we probably should have done that a year and a half ago, but we stalled on that.”
“What is the gap, how do you calculate that 10% and what levers can [City Council] adjust?” he asked. “And in fact have we already done that? Can we move the needle?”
One source of information aldermen will have as a plan comes into focus will be a community survey on housing, first discussed in May 2022. In response to a question from 6th Ward Ald. Rick Biagi about the statistical accuracy of the survey, Awsumb said officials should think of the survey as “more of a questionnaire or community engagement.”
“Because it’s more of a questionnaire, I would not get the results of that and say, ‘well, that’s what folks want and that’s what we’re voting yes on,” Awsumb said.
Ultimately, the results of the community survey would be one of a number of inputs into drafting an affordable housing plan, he said.
Former Glenview Mayor and Metropolitan Mayors Caucus Senior Advisor Nancy Firfer commended the city on its Uptown area, which Awsumb noted has seen significant residential development over the last two decades.
“When you have a community like Park Ridge… you have great things to offer everyone who lives here,” she said. “You want to make sure that the housing you have works for everyone who lives in your community.”
Awsumb said the city would convene a focus group on affordable housing as another “input” for an eventual plan in March and said the goal was to have “draft content” by summertime.
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February 13, 2023 at 05:39PM