The Housing Authority of Cook County also known as the HACC, is the second largest public housing authority in Illinois. The HACC is a municipal corporation that was established in 1946 to serve 108 communities, as well as unincorporated areas in suburban Cook County. The Housing Authority of Cook County administers several rent assistance programs to meet the housing needs of our rental participants. The HACC’s conventional public housing program consists of over 2,100 owned units of low-income housing. The Rent Assistance Division services over 13,000 families, senior citizens, and persons with disabilities. Other programs such as our Mobility Assistance Program, Family Self-Sufficiency Program, and Home Ownership Program are designed to make a positive difference and help participants achieve independence. The HACC believes that, with the partnership of public and private resources, the goal of providing safe and desirable housing in viable communities, for all County residents can be successfully accomplished.
HACC’S VIRTUAL HIGH SCHOOL
Don’t Get Left Behind
Thanks to a grant from the Cook County Justice Advisory Council, the Housing Authority of Cook County is helping individuals without a high school diploma or GED obtain those credentials, through an online program called Virtual High School. The program consists of online, independent study, where students can work at their own pace.
Individuals who are ages 17 to 21 years old and who have have served time in prison may apply, as well as individuals in the listed age group who did not receive their high school diploma.
Courses are free and available at the Ford Heights Community Organization in Ford Heights and the Robbins Community Help Agency in Robbins. If you or someone you know can benefit from the HACC’s Virtual High School Program, have them call (312) 542-4776.
FALL HOUSING HIGHLIGHTS NEWSLETTER
Something For Everyone!
In this issue..
- HACC Breaks Ground on Senior Housing in Evanston
- Keeping Residents Safe: Reporting Unlawful Activity on HACC Property
- HACC Bids Farewell to Retiring Employee
- HACC Holiday Giving Campaign
- Housing Our Veterans
- Tips for Landlords: Handling Emergency Repairs
- Beating the Odds: Inspirational Story of Path to Homeownership
- TopBox Foods: Nourishing Food Delivered to Your Door!
- HACC Virtual High School: Continuing One’s Education
- HACC Kids: Appreciation During the Holidays and Tips for College Students
Click here for the fall issue of HACC’s Housing Highlights and enjoy!
To receive an electronic copy of Housing Highlights newsletter delivered to your inbox, send an email to email@example.com.
OPERATION WARM AND THE HACC DELIVERS JUST IN TIME FOR WINTER
For the second year in a row, the HACC partnered with Operation Warm and distributed coats to children in our programs. Over 400 coats were handed out to grateful families just in time for the mid-west harsh winter weather. Children ages 4 to 16 received new winter coats in an array of colors. The HACC also distributed new and gently used clothes to residents.
In addition to receiving coats from Operation Warm, the HACC receives a generous contribution of coats from Proviso West High School and DLA Piper, as well other community partners. Each year the demand for winter coats for the children in our programs increases, highlighting the financial struggle that many families are facing. The HACC is always appreciative of partnerships that helps to improve the quality of life or ease the burden of our clients. For next year’s coat drive, we hope to partner with other community members to distribute more coats to needy families. If you would like to join our mission to keep the cold at bay by providing a financial contribution to next year’s coat drive, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will get right back to you!
HACC BREAKS GROUND ON RENOVATION OF THE JANE R. PERLMAN AND VICTOR WALCHIRCK APARTMENTS IN EVANSTON
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl, Evanston 1st Ward Alderwoman Judy Fiske, Illinois Senator Daniel Biss, and IHDA Assistant Director Christine Moran, joined the HACC’s Executive Director Richard Monocchio in a much anticipated groundbreaking celebration for the renovation of the Jane R. Perlman and Victor Walchirck Apartments. Both properties are owned and operated by Evanston Senior Redevelopment, LLC, an affiliate corporation of the Housing Authority of Cook County (HACC).
This project is the first renovation in Cook County to utilize the federal Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program, which allows the HACC to utilize private debt to finance the renovation of an existing public housing project. The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) provided $1,500,000 in tax credits, which will generate over $15,000,000 in equity for the project. The Cook County Bureau of Economic Development is providing $3,560,000 in federal HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) funding to support this project. The City of Evanston is providing $150,000 in HOME dollars. The total development cost is approximately $25.7 million. All units will be set-aside for low-income senior households, and for persons with disabilities.
“I’ve been a long-time advocate of affordable housing, both as an Alderman and President of the Cook County Board. In these challenging times, when the demand for affordable housing far exceeds the supply, a project like this is critically important in providing a stable home for hundreds of senior citizens and people with disabilities,” said Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle. “I commend the Housing Authority of Cook County and all of their partners on all of their hard work in bringing this project to fruition.”
“The Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) is critical to the future of public housing. It allows us to leverage additional capital, and just as important, puts these buildings on a more solid financial footing,” said Richard Monocchio, Executive Director, Housing Authority of Cook County.
Due to the continual decline in federal funding for public housing, these buildings are in need of major renovation. New enhancements include major mechanical and structural systems, such as plumbing, HVAC, and masonry. Individual apartments will also be modernized, including new floors, cabinets and appliances. Current residents will continue to live in the building while their units are renovated. The project is scheduled to be completed in late 2015.
BACK TO SCHOOL AT THE HACC
Summer 2014 is coming to an end, which means children are heading back to school or have already begun that journey and the best way for parents to help their children prepare for the new school year is by having the necessary school supplies.
From August 11th through August 15th, the HACC distributed backpacks, messenger bags, and school supplies to children ages 6 to 19. Over 300 bags filled with supplies were distributed!
We hope that every child have a successful and productive school year. Should a child need a little help with their homework, do not forget about the Homework Help line available Monday through Thursday, 5 pm to 8 pm at (312) 645-5555.
KEEPING OUR YOUTH INVOLVED IN THE COMMUNITY
HACC WAIT LIST IS NOW OPEN
Wait list requirements are as follows:
- The Head of Household or Co-Head/Spouse must be 50 years of age or older.
- The annual income for a one-person household cannot exceed $40,550, and the income for a two-person household cannot exceed $46,350.
- Households will be required to pay rent equal up to 30% of their adjusted annual income or the flat rent applicable to the property.
HACC’s senior housing communities are well maintained and offer seniors amenities such as resident libraries, community rooms with cable television, 24-hour onsite security cameras, fitness rooms, onsite laundry rooms, close proximity to pharmacies, and much more, all while remaining affordable. All HACC senior housing communities have onsite property managers, as well as resident custodians.
Additionally, we have regularly scheduled events and activities for our senior residents, which may include well being workshops, seminars, fitness classes, and much more.
To download the application, view locations, income requirements, and other eligibility details for the wait lists, please click here.
If you would like a tour of any one of our properties, click the links below to view the locations and contact information.
HACC SPRING 2014 NEWSLETTER
The HACC has been quite busy. Since the last issue of Housing Highlights, staff have started the process of relocating residents for a major construction and capital improvement project that will not only preserve current housing in Evanston, but will enhance the quality of life of more than 200 HACC residents.
Also in this issue, all HACC staff are touched by the people that we serve. However, there are three HACC employees who are touched more than some and they are our Resident Coordinators. The coordinators provide a critical link to services that residents need to improve their quality of life. See page three of the newsletter for their features and pass along their information to someone in either of the HACC’s housing program who you think could use their assistance.
Most people are aware of the wealth of information that can be found on the Internet. However, there is also a dark side to the Internet and children are not the only victims of online predators. Our seniors are just as vulnerable and for that reason, we thought it was necessary to make sure that seniors are aware of the hidden dangers when they use the Internet.
Renovations, resident coordinators, and internet safety for seniors, only scratch the surface of the features in this issue of HACC’s Housing Highlights. Click here to read more and we hope that you find the information useful.
HACC’S EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR RICHARD MONOCCHIO
ADDRESSES NATIONAL HOUSING PANEL
The Council for Large Public Housing Authorities (CLPHA) held its annual meeting last month, in Washington D.C., and the HACC’s Executive Director spoke to attendees at the conference regarding HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) Program.
HACC has converted its two properties in Evanston, Jane R. Perlman Apartments, and Victor Walchirck Apartments, which house seniors and people with disabilities. Through RAD, the HACC was able to leverage other State, federal, and local resources, which will lead to a multi-million dollar renovation of the properties. The work is scheduled to begin in early 2015.
Mr. Monocchio spoke on the need to extend the RAD Program. Currently Congres has capped RAD at 60,000 units. Another 120,000 units have been sent to HUD for conversion, but cannot be acted upon until Congress acts. If extended, all 2000 units of the HACC’s public housing would be converted and rehabilitated.
To learn more about the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) Program, please visit HUD’s website here.
Top left: Victor Walchirck Apartments – 2300 Noyes Court; Evanston
Bottom Right: Jane R. Perlman Apartments – 1900 Sherman Avenue; Evanston
VISIT OUR NEW E-PROCUREMENT PORTAL
Now, contractors who desire to do business with the HACC, need only to register their company and become immediately informed of new solicitation notices for services from the HACC, via e-mail. In addition to reviewing solicitation notices online, registered companies can now view a time-clock counting down the deadline for submitting proposals or bids. Companies are also updated via e-mail if there is an addendum to the original solicitation, as well as respond to a bid or Request for Proposals (RFP), or Request for Qualifications (RFQ) via the portal.
To visit the HACC’s new e-Procurement portal, click here and follow the directions to register.
SUMMIT GREETERS PROGRAM
The Greeters Program at Summit Senior Housing in Summit, IL, launched in April 2013, and consist of residents at Summit Senior Housing greeting guests as they enter the building, advising visitors to sign in before moving forward to visit a resident.
On February 3, 2014, another Greeter’s Program launched at the HACC’s Turlington West Apartments, in Harvey, IL. Look out for more Greeter Programs launching at other housing authority properties! (Summit Greeters in photo, left to right: Jerry Lackland, Myung Kim, LaDonna Nana, Ziamiah Akil, Edna Carter, Clarice Hill, Carolyn Howard, and Clarence Decker)
HACC HIT BY FURLOUGH DAYS
To ease impact, furlough days will be paired with holidays
On March 2, 2013, due to government-wide automatic spending cuts, the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s budget was slashed by 5.1 percent, severely affecting Public Housing Authorities and since PHA’s are funded almost exclusively by HUD, these cuts have reverberated throughout the nation. The Housing Authority of Cook County (HACC) lost $8.3 million in funding, affecting both the public housing communities owned by HACC, as well as the voucher program it administers.
Due to the spending cuts, the HACC will suspend operations at its central office located at 175 W. Jackson Blvd, Suite 350; Chicago, IL, and all of its management offices in its housing communities on the following dates:
- Wednesday, November 27, 2013 (Day before Thanksgiving)
- Tuesday, December 24, 2013 (Christmas Eve)
- Tuesday, December 31, 2013 (New Years Eve)
- Tuesday, January 21, 2014 (Tuesday after Martin Luther King holiday)
- Monday, March 3, 2014 (Casimir Pulaski Day)
- Friday, May 23, 2014 (Friday before Memorial Day holiday weekend)
- Thursday, July 3, 2014 (Day before Independence Day holiday)
- Friday, August 29, 2014 (Friday before Labor Day holiday weekend)
- Friday, December 26, 2014 (Day after Christmas)
- Friday, February 13, 2015 (Friday between Lincoln’s Birthday holiday of Thurs. 2/12 and President’s Day holiday of Mon. 2/16)
All HACC offices will resume normal operation the following work day after each closure that is noted above, according to regular business hours. We encourage those with business in HACC offices to plan accordingly. Click here for normal business hours schedule.
HACC TO RESTORE TWO HOUSING COMMUNITIES IN EVANSTON
The HACC has been funded to restore two of our housing communities in Evanston, Illinois. The rehabilitation will entail at least $16 million worth of improvements to the Jane R. Perlman and Victor Walchirck Senior Apartments.
The award is from a Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) application that the HACC submitted to Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) in August 2013. Each year, the demand for tax credit applications far exceeds the amount available for allocation; therefore, applications that are submitted must measure up to the rigorous requirements set forth by IHDA.
The awarding of the tax credits would not have been possible without the support of Illinois Governor, Pat Quinn, Cook County Board President, Toni Preckwinkle, Illinois Housing Development Authority, 9th District Congresswoman, Jan Schakowsky, 9th District Senator Daniel Biss, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Mayor of Evanston, Elizabeth Tisdahl, and many other affordable housing advocates who lend their support in favor of the HACC’s mission, which is to improve the lives of our residents.
The improvements will include structural, mechanical, electrical, and cosmetic upgrades. Individual units will be redecorated with new flooring, new fixtures, and cabinetry. By being able to to restore these buildings, it will extend the life of the properties by up to forty years, not only enhancing the lives of the current residents, but allowing those those that resides at the properties thereafter to reside in an environment that meet their needs.
BRINGING PLAY BACK TO CHILDHOOD
We did it! On Saturday, August 24, 2013, with over 100 volunteers, KaBOOM!, Chicago Bulls, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, the HACC brought play back to childhood by building a brand new playground at the HACC’s Sunrise Apartments and John Mackler Homes in Chicago Heights, IL. The build started off with remarks from Cook County Board President, Toni Preckwinkle, and was led into a warm up exercise by HACC staff. The culmination was a brand new playground six hours later, for the children in and around the Sunrise Apartments and John Mackler Homes.
To see pictures from the entire build, please visit our Facebook page here.
HACC BRINGS BOOKS TO FORD HEIGHTS
The Housing Authority of Cook County, along with Prairie State College, Altrusa International (Chicago’s South Suburbs), and the Dr. Charles E. Gavin Foundation Women’s Auxiliary, have joined together to promote literacy in communities where libraries are scarce or non-existent.
On May 7, 2013, all partners joined together to launch Little Free Library™, at the HACC’s Vera Yates Homes in Ford Heights, IL, located at 1055 S. Berkley Avenue. There will be two library boxes at this location and one library boxes each at two other housing communities in the South Suburbs, of which were built by dedicated staff on our Asset Management team.
Unlike your standard library book exchange, whereas we present a library card to check out a book, with Little Free Library™, the books are free and no library card is needed. However, readers are strongly encouraged to leave a book, when they take a book.
For more information about Little Free Library™, click here.
COOK COUNTY BOARD PASSES SOURCE OF INCOME (SOI)PROTECTIONS FOR VOUCHER HOLDERS
On May 8, 2013, the Cook County Board of Commissioners, in a landmark vote to end discriminatory housing practices throughout Suburban Cook County, voted to pass the Source of Income Amendment to the Cook County Human Rights Ordinance. The amendment passed with 9 votes in favor and 6 against.
There are many misconceptions about how the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program works, particularly as it pertains to working with the Housing Authority of Cook County (HACC). “The passage of Source of Income (SOI) Protection means that the Housing Choice Voucher Program offers real choice, regardless of income or where you want to live. This measure levels the playing field. It provides equal access for all”, says the HACC’s Executive Director, Richard Monocchio. Over 13,000 renters in Cook County receive housing choice vouchers and over 6,000 landlords participate in the program. The HACC has made drastic improvements in the administration of the HCV Program over the past few years. If you believe that you have been discriminated against in your search for housing, please call (312) 603-1100 or click here for information on filing a complaint.
SOURCE OF INCOME PROTECTION INFORMATION:
BUDGET CUTS IMPOSE DEEP CUTS IN HOUSING PROGRAMS
Public Housing Authorities were severely impacted by federal budget cuts in March 2013. The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s budget was slashed by 5.1%. Since PHAs are funded almost exclusively by HUD, these cuts have reverberated throughout the nation. The Housing Authority of Cook County (HACC) lost $8.3 million in funding. These cuts will impact both the public housing communities owned by HACC, as well as the voucher program it administers.
More ominously, this comes on the heels of last years’ $1 million cut to public housing programs nationally. HACC’s share of this loss was $2 million. This year, $7 million was cut from the Housing Assistance Program (HAP), the fund used to pay landlords rent. Many housing authorities have been forced to terminate housing assistance for current voucher holders. In Cook County, that action will not have to be taken, at least at this point. However, no new vouchers will be granted to people on the waiting list, many of whom have been waiting over twelve years for assistance.
Another $1.3 million was cut from operational funds. This will impact everything from processing new tenants, remodeling vacant units, completing work orders, and personnel.
‘Housing programs have been cut steadily over the past decade,’ said HACC Executive Director, Richard Monocchio. Personnel and programs have been cut back over time as a result. But this year, the cuts hit like a machete. This will have a profound impact on the people we serve,” said Mr. Monocchio.
Up to 700 very low income households will not receive housing vouchers as a result of these cutbacks. In addition, much needed maintenance and repairs to the existing housing will be reduced. Currently, HACC’s 2,000 public housing units have nearly $100 million in unmet capital needs.
“We are committed to keeping every current resident housed,” said Mr. Monocchio. “But there can be no doubt that the level of services will be impacted by these cuts, and felt by every resident.”
EveryoneOn is a national campaign – a movement – to motivate Americans to become connected and take advantage of free digital literacy training in their own communities. It is an initiative of Connect2Compete (C2C), a national nonprofit organization that aims to eliminate the digital divide by delivering free and low-cost Internet, computers, and digital literacy training to all Americans. C2C has partnered with the Ad Council and Y&R to develop the national campaign, which is a three year, multi-media, bi-lingual effort.
Get access to Connect2Compete’s low-cost computers and deeply discounted high-speed internet today.
Click here to see if you qualify!
MEDICAID PROGRAM FOR UNINSURED ADULTS IN COOK COUNTY
The Housing Authority of Cook County and the Cook County Health and Hospital Systems (CCHHS) have partnered to ensure that those in need of medical care are able to receive the assistance that they so desperately need. CountyCare is a new program for uninsured adults who are 19-64 years of age, living in Cook County and those that qualify for CountyCare will have access to services such as public transportation, family planning, physicians, dental visits, mental health services, inpatient AND outpatient hospital services and much more!
Please see below for a link to the CCHHS website to find out more about this exciting new program and for a quick overview of the program, see the flyers below.
Click here for more information.