Affordable Housing Advocacy Group Meeting Minutes ~ Feb. 10, 2022

Date: February 10, 2022

Location of meeting:  Via Zoom

Time meeting was called to order: 7:00pm

Attendees:  Kristin Berg, Nan Parson, Chris Parson, Melani Kaplan, Jeanne Wells, Kathy Rosling, Kate Kerin, Karen Banks-Lubicz, Marilyn Novak

Agenda Items:

  1. Nan and Kristin attended the Justice Project Roundtable meeting held 2/6. It was a well-attended virtual meeting of representatives from north and northwest suburbs with a focus on DEI in city government. The speaker is a DEI consultant and a member of the city council in Highland Park. That suburb is about to perform an “Equity Audit” to see if there is diversity among their staff, and inclusiveness in their processes, structures, and practices. The audit will collect data to see if the city’s “equality statement” in their comprehensive plan has led to equity in how they govern. Equity audits are being done in schools, libraries, parks, and cities. It is something to be aware of as a tool to drive change.
  • Terry Schuepfer, a retired psychology professor and former Trustee for the Village of Harwood Heights (2007-2021), was appointed to the PZC. The Commission is now fully staffed. There are 3 new members in the past several months and we will see how this affects the Commission. There was a discussion about next steps for this group regarding upcoming discussions of the Housing Chapter in the Comprehensive Plan. Chris Parson said it was important for members of this group to attend meetings and have a presence during these discussions. Nan Parson had suggested meetings with the new commissioners prior to the start of the Comp Plan discussion. In the end, it was decided that Nan and Kristin will meet with the new Chair, Jim Hanlon, soon. We want to see a transparent and open process.
  • Kristin interviewed a for-profit developer of affordable housing for seniors, GC Housing Development, LLC, to continue gathering thoughts from those that build affordable housing, what challenges they face in the suburbs and how local government could help their efforts. It was noted that even though many towns state that they are in favor of more affordable housing in their Comprehensive Plans, when it comes down to it, they really aren’t. It is not enough to make statements in a Plan, there has to be a commitment and follow-through. Kristin will continue to talk to developers and put together a report on their responses.
  • Jeanne and Kathy drafted a letter to present to social service organizations and sent it to Nan and Kristin for editing. The letter was broken into 2 parts, the longer part containing some background information and the shorter part a statement that organizations can sign onto to show their support for affordable housing in our community. Nan will look for someone who can turn this into a Google doc for ease of signing. The group discussed other ideas that could help get the message out about the need that exists in Park Ridge, including:
  1. Create a visual representation of the numbers showing how many families are cost-burdened; an infographic or pie chart; Kate offered to work on that
    1. Perhaps find a person to tell their personal story about what they have to give up or forego in order to afford their rent or mortgage
    1. Create posters, maybe for Affordable Housing month in May
    1. Share the graphics on the AR Facebook page and possibly other places
    1. Possibly work with the Health Commission although they are not very active
  • Upcoming events/updates:
    • WTTW First Hand documentary streaming starting February 22nd; panel discussion with Nan Parson airing that night at 6:00pm
    • AR Meeting February 15th at 7:00pm on Clean Energy; at Sweet & Tart and virtual
    • AR Diversity Discussion Group on February 24th at 7:00pm: What the Eyes Don’t See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City by Mona Hanna-Attisha.
    • AR is planning to show Any Given Day,  a documentary filmed by Margaret Byrnes about the mental health crisis and criminal justice, on March 9th. A panel discussion featuring Margaret Byrnes will follow the movie.

Time Meeting Adjourned:  8:17pm                                                              

Next Meeting Date:  Thursday, March 3rd at 7:00pm via Zoom

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