IHDA envisioned a statewide planning effort that laid out a vision for the future of housing in Illinois that would acknowledge the assets and accomplishments of the many communities across the state, identify their needs and constraints around housing, and outline tangible goals for the near future that could be attained through programmatic and legislative advocacy. Rather than creating a plan that developed solely by experts working within the field of housing, IHDA believed it was critical to utilize the Housing Blueprint as a platform for engaging and elevating the voices of residents. While the Blueprint would include more standing planning elements, such as quantitative market analyses, a distinguishing feature this plan was its prioritization of community engagement, feedback, and participation in the construction of the Blueprint.

Another driving tenet of the Housing Blueprint was a desire to prioritize efficiency and acknowledge the vast efforts already underway throughout the state. IHDA believed that in the Housing Blueprint it was critical to create a plan that did not duplicate work of past planning efforts, but instead identified and aligned with them to link and leverage other agencies, organizations, and residents’ goals. From its onset the Housing Blueprint was an idea that was based upon the engagement of a broad group of individuals both within and outside of IHDA.

Finally, the Housing Blueprint was also envisioned as a plan that could gather and share large amounts of data from across the state with transparency and relevance. In the hopes of reflecting on past accomplishments and engaging residents to build upon this information to create a vision for the future, IHDA believed that the Housing Blueprint should provide a venue to present data and statistics in the most open and meaningful manner possible, and accommodate as many requests for data and information that could serve as useful knowledge for creating a sustainable and vibrant housing market for all Illinois residents in the years to come.

In March of 2020 IHDA drafted an outline of what the Housing Blueprint could entail based upon these principles and presented the concept to the Statewide Housing Task Force comprised of individuals representing service providing and governmental agencies across Illinois. The organizations and agencies represented on the Housing Task Force focus on various topical areas within housing, but also include other areas such as economic and community development, the environment, youth and aging populations, and transportation (among many others). Because of this, debuting the concept for the Blueprint among the Housing Task Force members allowed IHDA to gain a very wide breadth of feedback and constructive criticism around how this planning effort could best serve the many different geographic areas and populations of Illinois while most efficiently connecting to and elevating work that has already been conducted.

The proposed outline for the Housing Blueprint (shown in the image below) was included in the spring Housing Task Force meeting agenda and discussed at length. Subsequently, IHDA also released a survey to gather more specific feedback and recommendations surrounding the planning effort. The survey was sent out to the Housing Task Force as well as other organizations across Illinois and requested feedback regarding the most critical elements of successful planning efforts, past plans to link to and leverage, data sources that should be included, and the general outline of the plan. IHDA utilized the responses to this survey to finalize an outline and timeline for the Housing Blueprint and begin work on this planning effort.

The Housing Blueprint aims to be as inclusive and transparent as possible. If you have feedback or suggestions about the outline and components of the Housing Blueprint, comment below or contact us to get involved.