Chicago Regional Housing Choice Initiative (CRHCI)
The HUD-funded Regional Demo was a first of its kind partnership among eight public housing authorities (PHAs), HUD, Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) and HCP to expand housing choice in the Chicagoland region. The eight participating PHAs were Cook, McHenry, and Lake Counties as well as the municipalities of Chicago, Oak Park, and Waukegan and the joint PHA of Joliet/Will County.
HUD helped fund this project to inform their policy decisions around mobility, portability and regional PHA cooperation, focusing on cost savings and efficiencies that the project examined, along with better outcomes for families. The MacArthur Foundation funded the initial evaluation, while The Chicago Community Trust contributed to HCP’s implementation of the program. The project was initially planned to run for two years, but three years was needed to complete all the goals of the project. Cook County CDBG funds also helped support this project.
Using some combination of a $500 incentive, mobility counseling, and/or a portability advocate, the program encouraged Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) families to move to opportunity areas with better schools, employment opportunities and lower crime. The goal for HUD was to identify cost effective solutions to encourage mobility and make moving from one region to another easier for everyone involved.
Early surveys conducted around educational opportunities for Regional Demo families were encouraging. In a recent “snapshot” of educational benefits of moving to opportunity areas, HCP found that children went from attending a school in their old neighborhood that averaged a 3/10 rating on GreatSchools.org to a school in their new community rated 7/10. HCP also found that reading scores from schools went from 59% pre-move to 73% post-move.
Comprehensive data collection was a main feature of the project, while an evaluation of the results will be completed by The RAND Corporation in Fall 2015.