Highland Park, Illinois Affordable Housing Trust Fund History

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Highland Park, Illinois Affordable Housing Trust Fund


  • The Housing Trust Fund is an outgrowth of the process begun in the late 1990s to update the City of Highland Park’s Comprehensive Master Plan.

  • The City Council directed the 25 year old Housing Commission to develop an affordable housing plan as an element of the Master Plan.

Context for Affordable Housing Plan

  • Rising land values

  • Loss of affordable units

  • Limited options for people who live or work in the community

  • Increasing difficulty in recruiting/retaining workers

Master Plan Process

  • Review of best housing practices

  • Recommended strategies to promote affordable housing include:

    • Establish Housing Trust Fund
    • Create a Community Land Trust
    • Adopt an inclusionary zoning policy
  • Flexible tools tailored to local needs


  • City Council adopted the Affordable Housing Plan as an element of the City’s Comprehensive Plan in January of 2001

  • Affordable Housing Trust Fund was established by ordinance of the City Council in May 2002

  • Community Land Trust was created in March 2003

  • Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance passed by the City Council in August 2003

Key Issues for Highland Park’s Housing Trust Fund

  • Purpose

  • Beneficiaries

  • Oversight and Administration

  • Program

  • Funding


  • To provide a reliable and flexible source of local funding for activities that address the affordable housing needs of low-and moderate-income people who live or work in Highland Park


  • HTFs target households with incomes ranging from 30% AMI to 120% AMI

  • Highland Park’s program requirements impose income limit of 100% AMI, with emphasis on 80% AMI or below

  • Priority for people who live or work in community

Oversight and Administration

  • Highland Park’s Housing Commission is designated as the oversight board

  • It has sole responsibility for approving funding awards – removing the funding award from the political process

  • Commission is assisted by a 7-member Advisory Committee

Elements of Operations

  • Setting annual goals and budget

  • Establishing policies, funding priorities, program requirements, procedures for disbursing awards

  • Preparing notices of fund availability or requests for proposals

  • Reviewing applications, approving and monitoring awards

  • Evaluating HTF activities

  • Reporting to City Council

  • Fiscal management of fund

Program Examples

  • Housing production (new construction, rehab, rental, ownership)

  • Acquisition

  • Rental assistance

  • Home buyer assistance

  • Land trusts

  • Preservation of existing housing

  • Housing-related services

  • Capacity grants to support not-for-profits that address affordable housing needs

Highland Park Program

  • Broad latitude under ordinance

  • Current focus: build inventory of affordable housing

    • Fund housing development
    • Set-aside in ordinance to support CLT operations and developments

Affordability Requirements In Highland Park

  • HTF-assisted units in for-sale developments must be kept affordable in perpetuity or as long as is legally permissible

  • HTF-assisted units in rental developments must be kept affordable for at least 25 years

  • Housing Commission will ensure on-going affordability through a grant agreement and deed restrictions, covenants or other related instruments that run with the property

Funding Examples

  • Dedicated revenue from one or more sources

    • Property tax
    • Real estate transfer tax
    • Sales tax
    • Fees (e.g., commercial linkage fees, inclusionary zoning in lieu payments, condominium conversion fees)
  • Other revenue sources (non-dedicated)

    • General revenue allocation
    • Bond issue
    • Corporate or foundation support

Funding: Highland Park

  • Revenue dedicated from affordable housing demolition tax ($10,000/unit or $3,000/unit for multi-unit buildings)

  • Revenue dedicated from demolition permit fee ($500/unit)

  • Revenue dedicated from inclusionary zoning in lieu payments

  • Revenue from sale of bond cap ($30,000 annually)

  • Revenue from Commission resources (refinancing of existing properties - $1,000,000 from one property and approx. $2,400,000 from another

Use of Funds: Highland Park

  • To date, Highland Park has approved grants totaling $950,800.

    • 3 operating grants for HPICLT
    • 2 development proposals for family housing from CLT
    • 1 grant for a moderate-income homeowner rehabilitation program.

Getting Started

  • Resource: Center for Community Change, www.communitychange.org

    • Mary Brooks was very helpful
  • Adopt ordinance

  • Develop program requirements and process for use and awarding of funds

  • Develop structure for program administration

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