Affordable Housing Expo Recap: Building an Affordable Future

February 1, Georgios Banquets – Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS® circled up their collective wagons and hosted the 2023 Affordable Housing Expo from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The vision behind this all-day event was accessibility for people of all backgrounds and demographics to learn what options exist for their homebuying dreams. Property ownership is a right for all and the Affordable Housing Expo had five pillars echoed by all speakers: Leadership, Promotion, Education, Advocacy and Community.

Doors opened at 8 a.m. sharp quickly followed by the featured breakout rooms.

Suburban Housing Center (SSHC) was on the docket first to discuss how their 2023 initiatives are focused on their mission statement: eliminating discrimination based on race or protected status to foster long-term community diversity. Click here to see their home page and what other conversations are happening at SSHC. 

Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) dovetailed SSHC with their own presentation. Started in 1967 the IHDA has sustained their longstanding mission in Illinois following their own avowal: financing the creation and preservation of affordable housing in Illinois. To learn more about the IHDA click here and see what news and notes are trending on their homepage. 

Operating simultaneously during breakout room speaker presentations was the Affordable Housing Expo vendor fair. Thirty-one tables filled the fair and took place promptly at 8:30 a.m. and lasted till keynote speakers and panelists took the main stage at 10 a.m. Vendors from all over the Chicagoland area presented their wide-ranging specialties: banking representatives, title services, real estate attorneys, warranty providers, home improvement solutions, loan officers and more exclusively focused on creating new homeowners. 

The first group of panelists on stage at the Affordable Housing Expo was the Building an Affordable Future panel. The four speakers were Matricia Jackson from Keller Williams Elite, Yvette Jones-Swanson from Real People Realty, Moises Figueroa Hernandez of Chase Bank and Tracey Royal from Coldwell Banker Realty. The panel all resonated with the same passion, which was sharing all available affordable housing resources. Each of these speakers had a chance to tell their success story which highlighted a triumph in the face of adversity for their buyers or renters. Additionally, this panel specifically identified the affordable housing opportunities for people of all financial backgrounds. In Illinois, there are realistic options to find the capital necessary for making down payments regardless of income or occupation. What the panel of guest speakers conveyed to the audience of more than 250 people in attendance, was that education about these assistance programs is the first step. 

One program stood out: the Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCV), formerly known as Section 8. The HCV program is not just for tenants who wish to rent. Buyers may be eligible to apply for and use a voucher to assist in their down payment. For more information about the HCV subsidy program in Cook County and how to apply,please click here to find resources about Affordable Housing. 

This is the first in a three-part series. The next segment from the 2023 Affordable Housing Expo will feature Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi and the progress the assessor’s office has made to try and close the appraisal gap. Click here for more information and past blogs.