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Affordable Housing


BPI works to expand and preserve the supply of housing affordable to working people, seniors and young families. We especially seek to increase the availability of affordable housing in areas of opportunity with access to good jobs and good schools. We also seek to stabilize and strengthen neighborhoods that already have large supplies of affordable housing.

Much of our current work is focused on responding to the foreclosure and vacant property crises, which are reducing the supply of affordable housing and dramatically undermining quality of life in neighborhoods plagued with abandoned properties.

First, we strive to help homeowners and renters facing foreclosure stay in their homes, by creating special programs like the Cook County Circuit Court Foreclosure Mediation Program and new policies such as the City of Chicago ordinance designed to protect renters in foreclosed buildings.

Second, when homes or rental units can’t be saved, we have helped develop state and local laws that work to ensure that vacant properties are well-maintained and secured so that they do not harm neighborhoods or further erode nearby affordable housing stock.

Third, we seek to return vacant foreclosed properties to productive use through innovative programs like formation of the Cook County Land Bank.

To advance these goals, BPI pursues a multi-faceted approach consisting of:

  • State policy initiatives: including the development and implementation of state laws that increase the availability of affordable housing and help to address the foreclosure crisis
  • Local policy initiatives: that help local leaders develop effective ordinances and programs
  • Coalition building, education and outreach: to expand public and political support for affordable housing


  • 2013: BPI led efforts to pass a new state law that helps local governments maintain and secure vacant properties by generating and distributing tens of millions of dollars for local governments to address the challenges, and by creating a “fast track” foreclosure process, that reduces by almost two years the time it takes to get a vacant property through foreclosure and into the hands of a responsible new owner.
  • 2013: BPI was a leading voice in the formation of the Cook County Land Bank, which over the next several years will support neighborhood stabilization and economic redevelopment efforts by acquiring thousands of vacant properties; working with local governments, community groups, private developers, and investors to make plans for them; and then returning these properties to productive use.
  • 2011: BPI led the successful effort to protect thousands of vacant properties and the neighborhoods in which they are located by requiring banks and mortgage servicers to secure and maintain them even before they complete the foreclosure process.
  • 2007: Following a four-year campaign spearheaded by BPI, Chicago adopted an inclusionary housing ordinance, requiring developers to include affordable housing in larger projects that benefit from other city incentives, like zoning changes to permit increased density.
  • 2003: With extensive assistance from BPI, Highland Park enacted the Midwest’s first inclusionary housing ordinance, requiring creation of affordable housing in most new residential developments.
  • 2003: BPI led the successful effort to pass the Illinois Affordable Housing Planning and Appeal Act (AHPAA), requiring nearly all communities in the state to have a threshold level of affordable housing, or to make and implement plans to achieve that goal.




Recipient of the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions

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