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Affordable Housing in Plainfield?

Madhu Mayer | 2/12/2019, 7:47 p.m.
The Village of Plainfield is working with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning and the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus to outline ...

The Village of Plainfield is working with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning and the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus to outline a local plan that will ensure affordable housing in the community.

Jonathan Proulx, director of planning, during Monday’s committee of the whole workshop updated the Plainfield Village Board on the Affordable Housing Planning and Appeal Act that became a law in 2003 to encourage local governments to incorporate affordable housing into their communities. The act identifies a goal for communities to have housing costs, such as rent and mortgage payments, for 10 percent of the housing units in the community to be affordable based on the latest census.

The determination of affordability, according to Proulx, is based on a calculation of what mortgage or rent payment could be affordable for a person or household earning 80 percent of the areas median income. The calculation, he adds, uses the median income for the Chicago metropolitan area.

The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) was named the state-administering agency in the law. By reviewing the census data, Proulx said, the IHDA determines, which communities for which 10 percent or more of total housing units meet the affordability calculations of the Affordable Housing Planning and Appeal Act. Communities with fewer than 10 percent of housing units meeting the affordability criteria are identifies as non-exempt communities.

Proulx said in December 2018, Plainfield was listed as one of those 46 non-exempt communities, as data shows only 6.4 percent of the town’s housing units meets the affordability calculation. Communities in Illinois that are found to be non-exempt must adopt an affordable housing plan within 18 months from the date of notification of its non-exempt status, he said.

Besides Plainfield, other non-exempt communities include Homer Glen, Naperville, Hinsdale, Park Ridge and Elmhurst.

In the coming months, Proulx said the planning department will begin preparing a report, which will outline what Plainfield needs to do to reach the 10 percent target for housing units and identify potential areas where housing could be developed to meet the affordability targets.

Miranda Sobieski of Plainfield, who rents in the community, likes the intent of the affordability plan.

"I am a single mom with three kids and a house that costs $300,000 to $400,000 is way out of my price range, she said. I need something more affordable with my salary. Just like others in my housing situation, I rather own a home than paying a monthly rent with nothing to show for it.