Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Housing Workshop in Chicago Sparks New Ideas, Strategies

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Housing Workshop in Chicago Sparks New Ideas, Strategies

Article excerpt

Representatives from four diverse cities from the Great Lakes region met in Chicago on Thursday, September 30 and Friday, October 1, 1999 at NLC's "Strengthening Partnerships for Housing Opportunities" workshop. The cities of Ann Arbor, Mich., Kankakee, Ill., Superior, Wis., and Toledo, Ohio each sent a team of nine to twelve local leaders to the workshop, held in downtown Chicago.

"Toledo accomplished a lot," said Brian Sagert, a participant from the City of Toledo. "We have established a lot of positive building blocks."

Teams from the four cities in the Great Lakes region met as a group for the first time at the workshop in Chicago. Each city's team consisted of local elected officials, along with their choice of appropriate city staff, non-profit housing agency directors, developers, bankers, community services providers, and neighborhood group leaders. Each city team identified goals for affordable housing and community development in their own community.

"We have gained our action plan with deadlines of when and how we will implement our goals," said Jan Bond, of the City of Kankakee. The teams also brainstormed about strategies to overcome local challenges, and specifically mapped out detailed action plans for the next twelve months to achieve their goals.

"The session enabled us to get ourselves organized and establish a new, higher level of agreement and esprit de corps," said Kate Warner, from the City of Ann Arbor's team. Other participants echoed the sentiment that the workshop gave them clear tasks to accomplish in furtherance of an agreed-upon goal.

"Our problem was more clearly defined and we were helped with the `dissection' of our strategy," Bond continued. Hearing the progress, as well as the struggles, of the other three teams in attendance helped each team keep their plans in perspective. …

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