While affordable housing is needed throughout the state, those needs differ wildly from community to community. As Illinois communities change and evolve, so do local housing needs and preferences. While some housing needs are common throughout Illinois, many others are tied to the unique local conditions in the state’s urban, suburban, and rural communities. Understanding and addressing these varied needs requires thoughtful planning and deliberate collaboration with residents, community partners, and elected officials.
In 2020, IHDA began to develop the Illinois Housing Blueprint, a forward-thinking, grassroots planning initiative that sought to amplify the voices and experiences of Illinoisans living and working in communities throughout the state. Launched in March 2020 and carried out over the following year, the Blueprint has documented the assets and accomplishments of many communities across the state and has utilized data along with community and public input to identify local housing needs and market constraints. The Housing Blueprint uses this information to outline tangible goals that can be attained through deeper research, programmatic, and legislative advocacy. After more than a year of resident engagement, data collection and analysis, the first annual installment of the Housing Blueprint was completed and published online at www.ILHousingBlueprint.org.
In all, nearly 1,000 Illinoisans, 668 unique organizations, and hundreds of local leaders and elected officials participated in the creation of this first edition of the Blueprint, providing valuable context for housing needs, strengths, and community experiences across our state.
While the Blueprint included traditional planning elements such as quantitative market analyses, a key feature this plan was its prioritization of community engagement, feedback, and participation. To engage as many residents and perspectives as possible, the Blueprint incorporated various community engagement elements through its website, statewide resident surveys, and an extensive listening tour with sessions hosted in communities in every geographic area of the state. As the process moved forward, all findings and engagement opportunities were published on www.ILHousingBlueprint.org which serves as a hub to allow residents and organizations to remain up to date with plan findings and engagement opportunities. In all, nearly 1,000 Illinoisans, 668 unique organizations, and hundreds of local leaders and elected officials participated in the creation of this first edition of the Blueprint, providing valuable context for housing needs, strengths, and community experiences across our state.
The findings in the first edition of the Blueprint identified several priority areas and provided an initial roadmap to follow as Illinois continues to build a state that serves all its residents: