About Housing Choice Partners
Where people live has a direct impact on their opportunities in life. Expanding and supporting the housing choices for very low-income residents are the primary means to realize our goal: to be sure that all residents have to opportunity to live and thrive in safe, healthy neighborhoods, regardless of race, disability, ethnicity, income, or any other characteristic.
Housing Choice Partners (HCP) of Illinois, Inc. is a private non-profit organization created in 1995 by the Chicago-area fair housing community. Initially, HCP worked to promote racial and economic diversity in the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program in suburban Cook County. Fair housing advocates noted extreme concentrations developing in where HCV-supported households resided, primarily in high-poverty, racially-concentrated communities of color, and the group sought to resolve the problem.
The solution was a housing mobility program for the Housing Authority of Cook County. HCP operated the program for eight years and assisted over eight hundred families with moving to low-poverty, well-resourced neighborhoods.
Today, HCP serves the City of Chicago and suburban Cook County. We assist over 1,000 low-income households each year who are interested in learning more about their housing choice and where they may be able to root their family for long-term stability.
Advocacy and Creation of the State of Illinois Rental Housing Support Program
In addition to its core mobility work, HCP has been active in advocacy, working with the National Low-income Housing Coalition, the Chicago Area Fair Housing Alliance, Housing Action Illinois, and others to move the agenda for fair and affordable housing forward.
In 2005, HCP helped pass the Illinois Housing Opportunity Area Abatement Program to provide a tax abatement to landlords who rent to voucher clients in opportunity areas.
HCP also shaped the state’s Rental Housing Support Program (RHSP), a state-funded rent subsidy program similar to the federal voucher program. This subsidy program put Illinois at the national forefront of state-funded housing support.
As a direct result of HCP’s work with families and housing providers through the RHS Program, nearly two hundred individuals have housing in over forty communities with the cooperation of over fifty landlords.
Growing Housing Choice Partners
With decades of experience, HCP is a leader in building housing mobility strategies that provide real options, resources, and support for families with rental subsidies to access financial, educational, and health opportunities.
HCP has grown considerably from its original staff of five. This growth is due in large part to HCP’s leading role in housing research programs, housing policy advocacy, consulting work on a national level, and continued strive to expand housing options for families with low incomes in Chicagoland and beyond.
Additionally, an increasing body of research has underscored the importance of neighborhood quality (based on factors such as crime rates, school rankings, and economic and racial integration) on an individual’s life outcomes. Compounded by current events that have drawn to the surface issues of ongoing systemic racial discrimination, and inequitable access to wealth and quality education, it is more apparent now than ever that where we live matters.
HCP is here to ensure that, until all communities are communities of opportunity, our participants have the knowledge and ability to live in the community that best meets their family's needs.