The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) is an independent, self-supporting agency with a mission to finance the creation and preservation of affordable housing. Since 1967, IHDA has leveraged state and federal resources with private sector investments to build or renovate affordable multifamily apartments, fund affordable homeownership opportunities, and support vibrant communities throughout the state. While this mission has been the steadfast driver of IHDA’s activities for over 50 years, times of crisis have required a new level of responsiveness from IHDA. The last two years equate a perfect storm of crises – medical, social, and political – that has launched the world into upheaval. As a result, IHDA has embraced flexibility and efficiency as part of our mission in order to better serve the rapidly changing affordable housing landscape in Illinois. We have shifted staff and resources to better provide support to Illinois residents struggling to remain in their homes.
IHDA not only pivoted its entire work style to a remote model, but
we’ve expanded our core mission to address the most prescient issues
of our time:
- Addressing issues of racial equity both internally and in our funding processes and programs;
- Advocating and providing assistance to Illinois renters and homeowners who faced eviction or foreclosure due to financial impacts incurred as a result of this prolonged pandemic; and
- Directing funding to assist Illinoisans in new ways, utilizing new funding to create new sources of wealth via homeownership and student debt elimination, serving the hardest to house populations throughout the state, and requiring a higher standard of sustainability in our programs.
In 2020, IHDA launched one of the largest housing assistance programs in the nation that helped more than 56,000 households with $329 million in aid. In 2021, IHDA disbursed an additional $584 million in funding that assisted nearly 64,000 low-and extremely low-income Illinois households to stay safe at home during the pandemic. Over the past two years, IHDA has provided nearly $1 billion in federal aid to residents across Illinois.
As IHDA expanded its scope to include vital emergency housing assistance programs, work continued to expand and improve our more traditional business lines. Two new down payment assistance programs – SmartBuy and Opening Doors – helped us address barriers to home ownership that traditionally have impacted communities of color at a much higher rate, with a goal to provide equal opportunities for all Illinois residents. IHDA’s administration of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, the backbone of affordable rental financing in Illinois, was overhauled to include a plethora of new incentives designed to attract participation of a diverse field of developers looking to serve a variety of previously unserved needs throughout the state. Meanwhile, funding and staff time was directed throughout the state to advocate for new programs and new money, support local efforts to reduce blight, flow information and counseling, identify new on the ground needs, and meet the changing demands and needs throughout Illinois.
This biannual report documents this critical and timely response from IHDA, showing the programs created, implemented and maintained in the face of a global pandemic to ensure our state’s most vulnerable residents can remain safe at home during an unprecedented pandemic and financial crisis.