Adequate housing-like highways, healthcare and retail establishments-is necessary to achieve desired growth and quality of life in a region. For that reason, the Tri-State Development Summit established the Housing Task Force in 2005.

According to the Housing Assistance Council’s analysis of the 2001 American Housing Survey and the 2000 Census of Population and Housing, more than 5.5 million households in non-metropolitan parts of the United States (about one-quarter of all non-metro households) rent their homes. The analysis goes on to conclude that the gap between housing costs and incomes is the most significant problem, with more than one-third of rural renters (about 1.9 million households) cost burdened-that is, they pay more than 30 percent of their income for housing.

The Housing Task Force’s mission is to provide affordable workforce housing in the tri-state area. This includes:

1. Increasing affordable housing options for the region’s workforce

2. Providing counseling to first time homebuyers

3. Identifying funding sources for housing development throughout the region

The creation of affordable housing increases community pride, helps attract industry and increases property values and the community tax base.

Project Spotlight: Aspire Partnership Homes

The innovative Aspire Partnership Homes program is a collaboration between the Joint Apprenticeship Program of the Carpenters Union and the Federal Department of Probation and Parole. The Housing Task Force is in the planning stages of this program which involves members of the Carpenter Union teaching inmates carpentry skills that allow them to build homes from the ground up. These homes would then be sold to low income home buyers. The homes would be transported from the prison to the home site and placed on a permanent foundation. Homes would be sold for $35,000 leaving the prison. The total cost with the foundation, land and fees would be between $65,000 and $70,000 for a brand new 2-bedroom home. Program partners have received initial approval to establish this program from the Federal Prison System. This win-win program will reduce recidivism while creating new home ownership opportunities and brining new housing into communities.

Focus Areas:

• Green Technology using the Iowa Model of creating energy efficient homes

• Neighborhood Stabilization Programs – Purchasing foreclosed properties, renovating these properties and then selling or renting them to low income individuals – The City of Quincy’s program resulted in 11 new units and seven rehabbed homes for low income elderly households

• Foreclosure Modification/Mortgage Relief Programs

• Northeast Community Action Corporation – Rehabilitated over 300 units of housing representing $5 million in investment in 2013

• Two Rivers Regional Council of Public Officials – Administered the Rental Housing Support program through the Illinois Housing Development Authority as well as the Hardest Hit Program, counseling 50 families struggling with their mortgages and offering over $500,000 in assistance

• Two Rivers Regional Council of Public Officials – Weatherization of 80 homes totaling $537,758 in assistance

Click here to download a PDF of the 2014 Housing Task Force Report.