CCWBE Report

Voice of the People in Uptown, Inc.
Reporting Period:
Mar 2024
Submitted on:
April 15, 2024
Submitted By:
Pedro Morales Jr.

Pre-Development Projects

Project Goals

What proportion of Goal 1 overall is complete at this point?


What are the barriers and opportunities for completion that impacted goal 1 in the last month?

Following on the board’s annual meeting with elections of the month before, the March meeting (and work preceding/following) was primarily focused on reporting and evaluation of efforts for first three quarters. At this meeting, we cited delays by lender, Community Investment Corporation, in approval of affordable housing covenants. These delays, if continued, will require re-strategizing to assure supportive or new Community Development Financial Institution Relationship. Continued delays in funding the Dovie Thurman Affordable Housing Trust, and lack of Phase III implementation support, on top of failed attempt to secure City “TACIT” grant support in January, resulted in delays in job announcement, HR recruitment consulting, and delays in planned hiring of managing director for the Trust. Staff and our technical assistance provider, the University of Chicago, Department of Law Housing Initiatives Transactional Clinic, briefed leaders on areas of By-Law changes anticipated in the coming months. The April board meeting will kick-off that next round of strategic planning. Similarly, progress anticipated during this period on the development and start of regional outreach/marketing plans needed to be pushed back in favor of more pressing priorities with the lender and starting up with first three properties.

What proportion of Goal 2 overall is complete at this point?


What are the barriers and opportunities for completion that you impacted goal 2 in the last month?

The opportunity cost of delayed organizational grant support from the City, that is shifting time commitments of fiscal agent executive and administrative planning assistance staff, has taken its toll on slowing performance toward this goal and others. The most critical work in member benefits development is in area of property tax policy. Meetings with the Assessor’s staff need to restart, where a personal orientation of Commissioner George Cardenas at the Cook County Board of Review is still pending, and preparations need to begin on a summer “social cost appeals” training session planned for affordable housing owners – the primary audience for future members of the Dovie Trust. Thankfully, there are indicators in March that admin efforts with legal counsel to secure property tax exemption status on at least two of the first three properties slated for the Trust, may be in the offing, and after paying extraordinary legal costs, this will pay off in more sustainable operations of these properties as affordable housing. We intend, contingent on supplementary staff support, to slowly ramp up our outreach to the foundation/corporate community with education efforts about community land trusts. This will include planning/presentation input with Phase I TA providers, and to begin to do the same with the lender/investor community, even as we develop that slightly delayed marketing plans for Uptown and North Lakefront, and South-West affordable housing interest groups. In the final quarter, we hope to develop a plan to influence the Qualified Allocation Plans being updated with the City and State, with respect to preferences in development funding, subsidies and resident services support for “permanently affordable housing”, represented in community land trusts. In Chicago, that mostly means the Here to Stay Land Trust for first time home buyers with incomes between 60-100 % AMI, and the Dovie Thurman Affordable Housing Trust for renters and shared equity housing residents whose incomes are 0-60% of AMI.

What proportion of Goal 3 overall is complete at this point?


What are the barriers and opportunities for completion that you impacted goal 3 in the last month?

• During this period, we receive the first organizational endorsement for the principles of the Dovie Thurman Affordable Housing Trust. See attached. Good News Partners endorsement was received. This organization is also scheduled to receive technical assistance from Voice staff in the spring for Social Cost Appeals, and specifically, how evidence gathering can support of 2024 tax relief efforts for the Jonquil Hotel. Their interest in become a member of the Trust is on hold until the first three properties can be piloted through the process with Community Investment Corporation, or an alternative CDFI, should we need to pursue that. • Despite the challenges of opportunity costs of delayed funding, Voice did advance work with presentation materials generated by University of Chicago, and Rise Strategies, for the months before, and with beginnings of video production as a tool of education, outreach and marketing – to be unveiled and “Sweet Home Uptown” celebration of history scheduled in April. Having a video ( with one to two years of shelf life )to open presentations and dialogue about the Trust, and relevant to multiple audiences, is an important step forward.

CWB Ecosystem

Did you access Technical Assistance for your CWB project last month?


Which TA provider(s) did you work with within the Phase I CWEB grantees?

TA Provider Hours Spent Satisfaction

Center for Urban Economic Development (CUED)


Very satisfied

Which TA providers did you work with OUTSIDE of the Phase I CWEB grantees?

TA Provider Hours Spent Satisfaction

U of C Dept of Law Housing Initiatives


Very satisfied

Did someone from your organization attend the Working Group this month?


How would you rate the usefulness of the working group to your project last month? (on a scale of 1-5)

How would you rate the usefulness of the Working Group for building community?

What have been the two most valuable contributions of the Working Group this month?

Please share any comments about the working group meetings.

How many TOTAL housing units did you preserve or create last month? (it is okay if the answer is zero)


How many TOTAL CWB businesses did you develop last month? (it is okay if the answer is zero)


Community Engagement

Number of stakeholder meetings held related to your Pre-Development Project?


Number of community meetings attended last month related to your Pre-Development Project?


Organizational Capacity

Service / Capacity

Service Capacity

Accounting & Financial Management

5 extensive ability


5 extensive ability

Conflict Resolution

5 extensive ability

Cooperative Development and Operations

5 extensive ability

Education & Training

5 extensive ability

Fundraising or Raising Capital

5 extensive ability

Governance / Legal

5 extensive ability

Marketing & Communications

5 extensive ability



Project Management

5 extensive ability

Real Estate Acquisition & Development

5 extensive ability

Relationship Building

5 extensive ability


5 extensive ability

Other (please describe and include ranking)

What constraints or limitations with internal capacity is the organizarion experiencing related to its Pre-Development Project?

Staff time has shifted to compensating priorities to move the project forward. Efforts are being made to raise money for Trust through events. Plans and applications were developed during the period to recruit a qualified a Americorps VISTA team member. If not positioned to be a nationally-recruited Trust Managing Director, they can complement the fiscal agency team in moving the project objectives forward, especially on the research, networking and outreach efforts with key staff and leadership. With that extra help in the fourth quarter, tapping technical assistance in development of plans with government officials, subsidy providers, and foundations becomes more possible. Sources of support are being pursued to pay for advocacy consultant to pursue state funding, perhaps a 6-12 month effort. Although excluded from a State Advisory Committee on community land trust, we will attempt to provide policy and administrative guidance for advancing community land trust projects.

What opportunities, if any, did the organization take advantage of related to its Pre-Development Project?

The progress on the project objectives were significantly hampered during the first quarter of 2024, culminating in March, when staff and leadership had to consider and pursue alternative funding possibilities and alternative staffing options to advance the project, and while outside contracting and assistance for HR, legal and marketing technical assistance were largely put on hold. Because some of this work was budgeted for CWEB reimbursements, complications are foreseen to adjust final quarter vouchering and salvaging committed funds to complete the “pre-development” phase. Transition to an “implementation phase” has not been announced and there seems a lack of transparency on next steps supporting Phase II projects -- not oriented around acquisition and development. Voice will advocate for implementation phase to be incorporated into Eco-System Support, the original plan for the project.

Optional Space

Please use this space to elaborate, contextualize, or add any additional info about the details submitted in your report:

Community Land Trusts around the country not only promote housing opportunities and stewardship services, operating their organizations based on some levels of community accountability and democratic/cooperative principles, but they are most often structured as vehicles for acquisition and development -- to grow the organization, typically with preferential support garnering scarce resources from public funders and/or tax credit providers. Chicago has no lack of organizations trying to do acquisition and development, or to lend/invest/consult/fund/administer/construct affordable housing. This is why there is a natural inclination to equate acquisition and Pre-Development with the growth of a land trust. However, there will be equal and greater challenges to preserve affordable housing, to better manage it and provide resident services for affordable housing in the next decade. Chicago lacks an infrastructure to support existing developments, except as an emergency response, that are essential to maintaining racial, income, and needs diversity over time. The Dovie Thurman Affordable Housing Trust addresses this vital niche and stratagem that can be pursued without acquisition, development and construction as a pre-requisite. If supported as a new organization, it could be part of an essential Eco-System, where owners could join before or after development to better sustain their properties as affordable over time.