URBANA, Ill. –  Economic mobility in communities is tied to affordable housing. The lack of affordable housing costs nearly $2 trillion in lost wages and productivity and creates instability where children fail to thrive, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

"Increasing access to affordable housing is the most cost-effective strategy for reducing childhood poverty and increasing economic mobility," according to the Coalition.

This is one example of the value of using data-driven comprehensive planning. The Strategic Planning and Reporting (SPAR) Department of the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) works with communities to develop a place-based approach to expand housing affordability and income-generating housing developments. The SPAR team identifies and cultivates partnerships with local stakeholders, including advocates, city officials, developers, and residents, to implement local housing strategies that grow healthy and sustainable communities across Illinois. 

University of Illinois Extension will host a free online webinar for community leaders and housing advocates at noon, Tuesday, April 27. SPAR staff will share emerging demographic and real estate trends and show how local leaders can get involved.

Register online at go.illinois.edu/LGE to receive log-on information. If an accommodation is needed to participate in the webinar, email Nancy Esarey Ouedraogo, Extension community and economic development specialist, at esarey@illinois.edu. Early requests are strongly encouraged.

Presenters include Amy Bashiti, community revitalization planning specialist with SPAR, and Megan Spit, assistant director of policy and research with SPAR. Traci Sanders, new deputy director of IDHA, will be available for questions following the presentation.

"IDHA aims to develop a deeper understanding of the needs of rural communities, including aging populations, accommodating in-person or remote students, low-income residents, tourists, accommodations, basic infrastructure, or other housing needs," Ouedraogo says. The webinar is one of a series of collaborative sessions partnering Illinois Extension with Rural Partners.

SOURCENancy Esarey Ouedraogo, University of Illinois Extension Community and Economic Development Specialist
WRITERJudy Mae Bingman, University of Illinois Extension Marketing and Communications Manager

ABOUT EXTENSION: Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities.