About Housing Choice Partners
Where people live has a direct impact on their opportunities in life. Expanding the housing choices for very low-income residents, from high poverty and racially segregated areas to neighborhoods of opportunity, is the primary means to realize our goal; to be sure that all residents have a chance to participate in the economic vitality of the region, become self-sufficient over time, realize better health outcomes, and provide their children with access to better performing schools and employment opportunities, in order to reduce the cycle of intergenerational poverty.
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 the extreme poverty concentrations and racial segregation developing in the HCV program in southern Cook County, a pattern similar to that in the city, and the group sought to resolve the problem.
The solution was an HCP administered housing mobility program for the Housing Authority of Cook County. HCP operated the program for eight years, after which the program was moved in-house. Over eight hundred families moved to Opportunity Areas as a result of the program.
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 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 on this issue.
As a direct result of HCP’s outreach and unit identification, nearly two hundred individuals have housing in over forty communities with the cooperation of over fifty landlords.
Growing Housing Choice Partners
With over twenty years’ experience, HCP has become a leader in building housing mobility strategies that provide real options, resources, and support for low-income families to access better financial, educational, and health opportunities.
HCP currently employs nearly 30 staff, a considerable increase from its original team of five. This growth is due in large part to HCP’s leading role in federal housing research programs, housing policy advocacy, consulting work on a national level, and continued strive to expand housing options for HCV families 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 issues of ongoing racial discrimination, unequal access to wealth and quality education, and neighborhood strife to the surface, it is more apparent now than ever—where you live matters.
"You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step."
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Help HCP provide the resources and information families need as they take the first step of the rest of their lives.