In June 2014, HOPE, as part of a consortium of fair housing agencies nationwide, the National Fair Housing Alliance and HUD, reached a historic settlement with Wells Fargo Bank over a complaint concerning the marketing and maintenance of foreclosed REO's in communities of color. As a result of that settlement, and in partnership with Wells Fargo Bank, HOPE is pleased to add Community Development programs targeted to the Austin neighborhood of Chicago, and the City of Elgin, two areas hard hit by foreclosure disproportionately affecting neighborhoods of color.
HOPE's Community Development programs are empowering Elgin and Austin to overcome the lingering effects of foreclosure, achieve neighborhood stabilization, and create racial and economic diversity.
HOPE is sponsoring homeownership grants in the Austin and Elgin Communities.
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HOPE has contracted with Austin Coming Together/Goodcity to build neighborhoods, support neighbors and create opportunities for Austin residents to come together! Austin residents are welcome to join our neighborhood task forces to help build community, support early childhood education, work for youth justice, develop workforce opportunities, and create a beautiful built environment to create a healthy Austin.
If you are a resident of Austin and wish to know more about how you can get involved, contact Andrew Born, 773-417-8612, or visit www.austincomingtogether.org for more information.
South East Elgin Neighborhood Initiatives
A group of Elgin non-profits and HOPE have joined forces with residents to build community in the South East Elgin Neighborhood. Community planning sessions have been held, and projects have been identified to:
- Improve lighting in the neighborhood
- Form block clubs and neighborhood watch groups
- Create a more beautiful river front south of the Grand Victoria Casino
- Attract more businesses to South East Elgin
- Create a newsletter, SEEN-IT to keep up to date on what's going on
- Hold monthly meetings where you can network, get to know your neighbors, and hear presentations about topics that interest you.
If you are interested in joining this free and fun group, or in receiving the newsletter, contact Todd Fuller at 630-690-6500 ext. 115 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Community Development Accomplishments
The program has already helped 7 building owners rehab units or take advantage of technical assistance and training, creating 23 units of affordable rental housing and improving the economic stability of household and neighborhoods. Cooperative lenders have created low-interest loans for participants to accomplish larger cost repairs, such as new HVAC or roofing.
Austin Coming Together
New block clubs have formed, neighborhood clean-ups and barbecues are on the calendar, and task forces are working to address issues of importance to residents. A community survey of properties has been completed and will be updated, and outreach has been conducted to help people obtain assistance with foreclosure prevention, property rehabilitation, business development and workforce training.
Neighborhood Housing Services/Down Payment and Closing Costs
Five new home owners have used the program to purchase housing in Austin.
HOPE provided funds to two Elgin Symphony employees to purchase long vacant foreclosed homes in need of extensive repair. These purchases enhance the racial and economic integration of their neighborhoods.
HOPE produced a multi-layered marketing program called "ElgInstead" to promote the great features and amenities that living in Elgin can provide. This unique marketing strategy, incorporating billboards, posters and radio spots as well as a website, promoted the strengths of Elgin's diversity, access to public transit, scenic natural location, high ranking high schools and affordable historic homes. This campaign was designed to enhance the other investments HOPE has made in Elgin, and create demand for Elgin as a community of choice for all races and income levels.
HOPE funded in part Project 2-3-1: The Story of Elgin's African American Heritage.
The film will premiere April 26, 2015 at 3pm at the Elgin Community College Blizzard Theater.
HOPE also was a partial sponsor of The Newsome Park Project, commemorative signage to mark the historic Settlement neighborhood. The signs are currently on display at the Elgin History Museum. Installation is expected in May of 2015.
HOPE partially sponsored Habitat for Humanity of the Northern Fox Valley to rehabilitate four foreclosed properties. These homes are being completed between January and June of 2015, and will provide housing for four low-income families who would otherwise not have the opportunity to own a home.