Affordable homes for our community...
now and in the future


Affordable Housing Plan

IN THE LATTER PART OF THE 1990S, THE CITY OF HIGHLAND PARK EMBARKED ON A MASTER PLANNING PROCESS. There was increasing concern about the lack of affordable housing and its negative impact on the City's tradition of inclusiveness. Based on a joint recommendation of the City's Human Relations, Plan and Historic Preservation Commissions, the City Council directed the Housing Commission to prepare an affordable housing plan. The City Council adopted the following goals to guide the process:

  • To preserve, maintain and promote housing of high quality that reflects the community's commitment to cultural and economic diversity.
  • To maintain and increase diversity in housing styles, sizes, types, densities and prices or rents in order to welcome a wider array of families and individuals into the community.
  • To provide affordable housing that is an integral part of neighborhoods throughout the community.

Creation of Community Land Trust

Based on direction from the City Council and extensive research on affordable housing practices nationwide, a key recommendation in the plan was the creation of a community land trust to preserve the existing housing stock and develop new housing that will remain affordable in perpetuity. The model was found to be among the most effective and efficient models of affordable housing, particularly in high-cost areas such as Highland Park. In 2003, the Highland Park Illinois Community Land Trust (HPICLT) was established as an independent nonprofit, 501(C)(3) organization.

HPICLT was extremely successful at expanding the supply of permanently affordable housing in Highland Park and received regional and even national attention for being at the forefront of affordable housing. Since its creation, the organization developed and/or preserved over 85 units of permanently affordable housing that will provide housing stability over 1100 households into the future and it leveraged over $10 million in public and private resources for affordable housing.

Regional Expansion

As HPICLT began partnering with additional communities the organization's name was changed to Community Partners for Affordable Housing(CPAH) and its bylaws were updated to reflect a more sustainable, best practice model that allows the organization to collaborate with other communities in the region. CPAH began its partnership with Lake Forest in 2011, and with Evanston in 2013.

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CPAH Spotlight:

Craig & Nicia's Story

This is our story of how CPAH helped us turn our lives around and change directions.

We were earning enough income from our jobs that we were able to start saving for a home. Our second baby was on the way and while we weren't entirely secure, we felt we were making progress.

Then Nicia, along with hundreds of others at her company, unexpectedly lost her job of 13 years. Suddenly, we went from two incomes for our family of three, to one income for what would soon be our family of four. To make matters worse, with winter coming, Craig's hours as a truck driver were reduced. Since the rent for our townhome was now out of reach, we looked for a one-bedroom apartment, but we couldn't find decent, affordable housing.

For for the first time, we went into credit card debt to meet our monthly expenses. We were sinking and no matter what we tried, could not change directions. We felt hopeless.

Then we heard about CPAH. We quickly learned that CPAH had thrown us a life preserver. CPAH encouraged us and helped us through the application process. When we were fully qualified, we thought that maybe this was our chance to change directions.

When we walked into the home that would eventually become ours, it was unbelievable. Could this really be a home for our family? The answer was a life-changing yes. Now we have a safe, affordable, permanent place to call home and are optimistic about our future. Our expenses are manageable, and we are part of a wonderful community. Thank you CPAH!

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