CCWBE Report

Voice of the People in Uptown, Inc.
Reporting Period:
Feb 2024
Submitted on:
March 4, 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?

• Calendar of Meetings with Goals – Monthly meetings of directors began in November, with regular dates established going forward; meeting goals for the remainder of fiscal year are not yet fully defined. However, governance work pending includes serious discussion about tenant and city resource group representation on the board and representation from future owner-sponsors of eligible developments, defining selection process; • Initial Interviews/Consultations have taken place with Ecosystem Providers, including with University of Illinois Chicago, Center for Urban & Economic Development, Chicago Community Loan Fund/COLT Federation, Urban Homesteading Assistance Board, Rise Strategies on marketing/messaging (as subcontractor of CCLF/COLT), and with UIC CUED on video documentary of the need for community controlled housing and land trust strategies; • Recruitment and orientation of DTAHT “Independent Directors” have been completed (to complement founding directors appointed by Voice of the People in Uptown in 2023, Inc), with onboarding of Timothy Langston, long-time community activist on housing and social justice issues is Uptown and north lakefront, and Aurie Pennick, civil rights and non-profit attorney, retired executive of the Field Foundation; • Voice interviewed HR Recruitment Professional for Trust Managing Director position, with contract pending/suspended until certainty of funding can be addressed…, related work relative to job announcement, job description, hiring and orientation process, personnel and benefits systems development – all are delayed with lack of assurance in CWEB Phase III funding; • We experienced significant delays with primary lender, Community Investment Corporation (CIC) on approval of affordable housing deed covenants (three properties); sought TA from CCLF (Holmes/Feinberg) on anticipated lender concerns and how to mitigate; and, • On governance questions and by-law enhancement strategy, reasonable but slow progress made – completing job descriptions for directors, and defining roles of independent directors. Policies set for staggering terms. Elections of officers and first annual meeting held. Insurance issues were identified and addressed.

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?

• Voice of the People planned summer training and facilitation on “Social Cost Appeals” with the Cook County Board of Review (CCBR) staff at Truman College for the benefit of affordable housing owners, along with reps from Sen. Mike Simmons, Rep Hoah Huyhn and Ald. Angela Clay’s offices -- as an initial step in securing better tax relief to affordable housing owners, especially those who can demonstrate permanent affordability, as with the Dovie Thurman Affordable Housing Trust; • Web site pages, sample docs were developed for Social Cost Appeals follow-up technical support; • A meeting has been delayed and pending with the third of three CCBR Commissioners, George Cardenas, needing orientation on Social Cost Appeals… this is to be completed in collaboration with LUCHA development staff; • Further follow-up to Social Cost Appeals technical assistance as member benefit of the Dovie Thurman Affordable Housing Trust has been limited due to delays in funding; and, • On a separate but related tax initiative, meetings with Cook County Assessor’s Office (CCAO) on property tax advocacy agenda on valuations for “permanently affordable” housing were on hold for most of the reporting period, although the “Voice Reception” made possible contacts and strategies discussed with CCBR/CCAO reps that will likely give momentum in upcoming reporting period.

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?

• Facilitated Tax Session at Truman College on how to do “Social Cost” Property Tax Appeals, with presenters from law firm of Finkel, Martwick & Colson (tax appeal counsel), the office of Cook County Board of Review Commissioner Samantha Steele, and representation from Sen. Mike Simmons office and State Rep. Hoan Huyn, with eight affordable housing organizations present, represented a first ever outreach effort about owner technical services and about benefits that would be derived from affiliation with the Trust; • Individualized training/technical assistance took place in the late summer/fall with two housing presentations following the Truman College training session on the subject – in depth with Mercy Housing Lakefront and at introductory level with Good News Partners, a church based SRO housing provider (more follow-up technical support required); • An abbreviated presentation on the Social Cost Appeals strategy was convened by the City Dept. of Housing and presented by the Voice Executive Director and Finance & Compliance Manager with 74 delegate agency representatives present – it was an initial chance to raise awareness of the Dovie Trust and the kinds of benefits that can accrue with tax appeals fully documenting social costs of affordable housing preservation; • In November/December, Voice enlisted help, and provided detailed background information, to two technical assistance providers in drafting “pitch decks” for explanation and promotion of the Dovie Trust. The first was drafted/directed to lender as audience for key follow-up meeting on approval of “affordable housing covenants.” The second was drafted for a more general audience of people unfamiliar with community land trusts, and how the Dovie Trust provides a unique approach in community ownership and control. Voice used both to refine presentation to the Community Investment Corporation. A combination and expansion of the two will be used in second drafts pending as part of an outreach and education/marketing effort slated to begin in the fourth quarter of the funding year, with delays in this is likely with delays in funding and a range of related tasks. • Voice applied for increased funding from the City of Chicago, currently at levels for TACOM (Technical Assistance Community Center) and proposed for TACIT (Technical Assistance City-wide center). Although this failed, we met with the City on reasons for rejections and how owner services, including Dovie Trust support, could be reframed in future requests; • Regarding outreach and education efforts in general, we did not accomplish orientation meetings on Dovie Trust with advocate partners, ONE Northside and Northside Action for Justice, as both were overly committed to “Bring Chicago Home” campaign, nor did we draft outreach plans with south-west and north lakefront organizations; • Voice did convene an initial training session for a Housing Policy/”Speakers Bureau” of tenant/board leaders who will help to implement Trust outreach strategies going forward. A follow-up session is pending with tenant leaders and two organizations where hot local issues can be discussed re: pending affordable housing project, as well as Voice strategies for “service-enriched, permanently affordable housing” that can be introduced, with the prime example being the Dovie Thurman Affordable Housing Trust; • During the reporting period, an introductory video for the Dovie Trust has been scripted, with possible producer identified, and consultations on use of content or strategy advised by one eco-system provider; • The Dovie Trust has not been the subject of special e-newsletters, but promotions will accelerate in tandem with planning for Voice’s annual celebration of history, Sweet Home Uptown 2024, scheduled for April 18th, 2024.

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

Chicago Community Loan Fund


Very satisfied

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

TA Provider Hours Spent Satisfaction

Hoopla Communications


Very satisfied

Finkel, Martwick & Colson, PC


Very satisfied

University of Chicago Dept of Law Housing Initiatives


Very satisfied



Very satisfied

Rise Strategies Marketing Group


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)

Somewhat useful

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

Very useful

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


Please share any comments about the working group meetings.

Working group meetings have led to fruitful referrals and follow-up informational meetings that are noteworthy. Also, because the Dovie Trust seeks to be part of an ecosystem with start-up, a resource as originally intended, for affordable housing owners city-wide…, every meeting is a chance to raise awareness of the organization’s strategies and accomplishments.

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




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?

The internal capacity of the organization is lessened, along with time devoted to objectives, with the dozens of hours committed to workplan, budgeting, admin meetings and initial documentation requirements that comes with city support in a new program. In addition, managerial and executive staff must deliver on administrative support tasks for the CWEB program because of the funding shortfall. However, any objectives not achieved are simply deferred and will be completed in next following reporting periods.

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

For Voice of the People, as founder and fiscal agent for the Dovie Thurman Affordable Housing Trust, every in-house staff meeting, public meeting, vendor/funder/organizer meeting or consultation with affordable housing owners, advocates, and service allies -- has provided opportunities to introduce the idea of the Dovie Thurman Affordable Housing Trust and how it is a vehicle for more coherent community planning and housing preservation efforts essential to sustaining just and diverse communities. The delays in funding has prompted thinking about how the Dovie Trust organizational development in the absence of cash flows and as a complement to other “owner assistance strategies” planned by the organization.

Optional Space

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