The Voorhees Center has produced many publications over the years. Most are available in PDF format. If you are interested in a publication listed that is not available electronically, please call the Voorhees Center at 312-996-6336 or email

Affordable Housing

Drawing of building

The Voorhees Center works on many issues around the preservation and production of more affordable housing for very low-income families. This includes creation of the Illinois Housing Action Research Project (IHARP) and the Affordable Housing Fact Book with the Chicago Rehab Network. Both projects analyze the affordable housing conditions in Chicago and the state of Illinois. In addition, the Voorhees Center has produced affordable housing plans including the 2006 nationally award winning plan for Highland Park, IL.

Artwork by Lisa Wronski:

2017 Homeless Point-in-Time Count & Survey Report (2017)

Each year, the City of Chicago’s Department of Family and Support Services and All Chicago conduct a point-in-time count of homeless people. This report analyzes the data from the 2017 PIT count, paying particular attention to homeless subpopulations in the city and how figures have changed over time.

The Impact of a Minimum Wage Increase on Housing Affordability in Illinois (2016)

This study examines what impact a minimum wage increase would have on housing affordability among working households in Illinois. It was funded by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Labor Education Program Project for Middle Class Renewal and was co-authored by the Nathalie P. Voorhees Center for Neighborhood & Community Improvement at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the Labor Education Program at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

2016 Homeless Point-in-Time Count & Survey Report (2016)

Each year, the City of Chicago’s Department of Family and Support Services and All Chicago conduct a point-in-time count of homeless people. This report analyzes the data from the 2016 PIT count, paying particular attention to homeless subpopulations in the city and how figures have changed over time.

The State of Housing in America in the 21st Century: A Disability Perspective (2010)

The report, prepared for the National Council on Disability (NCD) in 2010, looks at the state of housing for people with disabilities with the intent to provide recommendations that can improve housing opportunities. The research contained in this report provides a comprehensive overview of the state of housing in the 21st century and answers important questions about the current housing needs and options for people with disabilities living in the United States.

Locating Affordable and Accessible Housing for People with Disabilities in Illinois (2007)

The Illinois Assisted Housing Research Project (IHARP) report, published in 2007, examines accessibility of subsidized units and provides an estimate of units statewide that have accessible/adaptable features. Recommendations are given on how to diminish the disconnect between accessible units and the people that need them.

Affordable Housing Conditions and Outlook in Chicago: An Early Warning for Intervention (2006)

Summary report prepared by Voorhees Center staff in 2006. This study produces a more precise understanding of the housing situation in Chicago by quantifying the supply and demand of affordable housing and then providing an outlook on the potential mismatch between the two in the next five years. Specifically, the report determines what number of households were low income based on their size: small (1-3 person) or large (4-8 person) and determines the number of units affordable to them based on affordability and units size: small (0-2 bedroom) or large (3+ bedroom).

HOME Program IHARP Report (2004)

The Illinois Assisted Housing Research Project (IHARP) report, published in 2004, provides and independent evaluation of the HOME Investment Partnerships Program and the use of HOME funds in Illinois. The report focuses primarily on the types for projects that have been completed, who have benefited and the program’s ability to meet diverse local housing needs.

Affordable Housing Cooperatives: Conditions and Prospects in Chicago (2004)

Prepared for Chicago Mutual Housing Network (CMHN) in 2004. Report assesses conditions and prospects of the affordable housing cooperative model in Chicago and includes strategies, which if aggressively pursued, will gradually elevate the place of affordable housing cooperatives as an affordable housing option.

Evaluation of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program (2002)

Illinois IHARP Report, 2002. Includes analysis of the affordability of Tax Credit projects, differences in projects across the State, the role of non-profit developers and highlights the beginning of affordability expiration of Tax Credit projects in 2002.

IHARP Annual Report (1999)

The Illinois Assisted Housing Research Project (IHARP) report, published in 1999, highlights the affordability expiration of Project-Based Section 8 developments in Illinois as well as the accomplishments of Illinois Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

Public Housing

Drawing of building

Public housing is a major component of the affordable housing stock. Efforts to transform Chicago’s public housing as well as significant changes in national policy are a major interest for the Voorhees Center. From the beginning, the Center has worked directly with public housing residents and other stakeholders in their effort to preserve public housing. This includes technical assistance as well as field research such as The Plan to Voucher out Public Housing: An Analysis of the Chicago Experience and a Case Study of the Proposal to Redevelop the Cabrini-Green Public Housing Area completed in the late 1990’s and more recently the Central Advisory Council Strategies and Recommendations Report.


Artwork by Lisa Wronski:

Central Advisory Council 2012 Strategies and Recommendations Report (2012)

The Central Advisory Council commissioned Lucas Greene Associates in partnership with in partnership Chicago Jobs Council, Heather D. Parish, Prim Lawrence Group, the Nathalie P. Voorhees Center for Neighborhood and Community Improvement and We The People Media to create the “2012 Strategies and Recommendations Report,” which was presented to the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA). CHA used many of the recommendations presented in this report to develop its new Plan Forward.

Moving or Moving Up?: Understanding Residential Mobility for Housing Choice Voucher Families in Illinois (2011)

The Illinois Assisted Housing Research Project (IHARP) report, published in 2011, assesses the realities of porting in Illinois. Analyzing an eight-year period from 2000 to 2007, this report found that fewer families ported out of Chicago than is commonly believed. Additionally, the report details 17 recommended actions to improve the Housing Choice Voucher program for assisted families.

Are We Home Yet? Creating Real Choice for Housing Choice Voucher Families in Chicago (2010)

The Illinois Assisted Housing Research Project (IHARP) report, published in 2010, finds that the majority of the Chicago Housing Authority’s 35,000 Housing Choice Voucher households continue to reside in predominately African-American, poverty concentrated communities in Chicago. These communities, which continue to struggle with high rates of unemployment, foreclosures, and above average rates of crime and poor health, do not provide real opportunity for voucher families. The report recommends that the Chicago Housing Authority, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the City of Chicago, housing advocates, and public officials work together towards a comprehensive agenda to advance housing mobility and real opportunities for voucher families, as well as to strategically invest in the communities where voucher families currently live.

The Plan to Voucher Out Public Housing (1997)

An analysis of the Chicago experience and a case study of the proposal to redevelop the Cabrini-Green Public Housing Area.

Neighborhood Change

Drawing of buildings

Change is defined best by each neighborhood or community. Change is negative for some and positive for others. Providing meaningful assistance to a community requires understanding change at all levels. The Voorhees Center analyzes change using a broad scope to better understand the issues affecting Chicago neighborhoods, identifying trends that can aid in the development of effective strategies. Two groundbreaking studies in 2003 resulted in the Gentrification Index that documented uneven development in Chicago 1970-2000 and the Neighborhood Indicators project to focus attention on the changing landscape of rental housing in the city resulting from the 1990-2000 housing boom. In 2014, the center rolled out its “Deepening Divide” project to bring attention to the growing spatial inequality in the city and the region.

Artwork by Lisa Wronski:

The Trajectory and Impact of Ongoing Gentrification in Pilsen (2016)

This report by John J. Betancur with Youngjun Kim analyzes conditions in Pilsen relative to the progress of gentrification. It is a follow-up to the report Gentrification before Gentrification? The Plight of Pilsen in Chicago, which is below in the publication list.

Gentrification & Neighborhood Change: Helpful Tools for Communities (2015)

This toolkit provides strategies for communities that have been or may be affected by gentrification.  It details what local communities can do for prepare for and address gentrification-induced displacement, with an emphasis on community empowerment and working together to take action. It explains each of the strategies and includes an outline of the pros and cons involved in taking each of these steps so that local residents and organizations can make informed decisions about their approach.

The Socioeconomic Change of Chicago’s Community Areas (2014)

This report, also known as the Gentrification Index, examines neighborhood change across Chicago from 1970 to 2010. It uses key indicators to measure how much a neighborhood’s wealth or poverty has changed in this time. It shows that inequality is growing in Chicago. Some neighborhoods have grown wealthier, while others have grown poorer. At the same time, the number of middle-class neighborhoods has gone down.

Making the Case for Change: Latino Demographics Profiles (2014)

Part I in the Making the Case for Change series provides demographic, social and economic data on the Latino population in the State of Illinois, and then compares the information with: 1) the Latino population in other states and Puerto Rico; 2) other racial/ethnic groups within the state; and also, 3) among Latino origin groups.

Making the Case for Change: Legislative District Snapshots (2014)

Part II, presents Latino demographic and socioeconomic data for legislative districts. The first section presents statewide maps for Congressional, State Senate and House of Representative districts and highlights growth in Latino population. The second section provides a more detailed view of population and socioeconomic data for individual legislative districts. These legislative district profiles demonstrate the geographic dispersion and changing profile of Latinos across the State.

60 Years of Migration: Puerto Ricans in Chicagoland (2012)

A Puerto Rican Agenda report, in partnership with the Voorhees Center. The 2012 study provides a profile of the Puerto Rican population in Chicago and focuses on different aspects of community life: housing, economic development, education, health, youth and justice, culture, and the non-profit sector.

Open to All? Different Cultures, Same Communities: A look at Immigrants and Housing in Chicago’s Northern Suburbs (2011)

Produced for Interfaith Housing Center of the Northern Suburbs, this report aims to better understand immigrants living in the northern suburbs of Chicago: who they are, where they live in relation to housing patterns and conditions, and the extent to which they exert political influence on local housing decisions. It was produced as part of The Chicago Community Trust’s three-year Immigrant Integration Initiative to come up with strategies that could help immigrants successfully integrate into the civic and economic fabric of their new communities.

Impact Study: Comparing two proposals for North Shore Estates (2006)

The study, prepared for Family Services of South Lake County, examines the potential impact of two proposals for the redevelopment of North Shore Estates in Highwood Park, IL

Gentrification before Gentrification? The Plight of Pilsen in Chicago Voorhees Center (2005)

White Paper published summer of 2005 by John Betancur, Associate Professor in Urban Planning and Policy.

Interpreting Neighborhood Change in Chicago (2003)

Prepared in 2003 with census data from 1970-2010. Scores are given to each Chicago community area based on various indicators such as poverty, income, housing values, etc. Based on these scores a neighborhood typology was developed in order to assess change (if at all) and the direction of change, either positive or negative.

Gentrification in West Town: Contested Ground (2001)

Prepared for Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation (BRC) in 2001.The study documents the changes and trends in the West Town community and includes strategies for the Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation to preserve and defend the affordability of housing in this rapidly gentrifying neighborhood.

Community Impact

Humboldt Park Boat House

Community based groups are vehicles for change in any neighborhood but these groups often lack the technical expertise needed to move some projects along. An important aspect of the Voorhees Center’s work is to actively engage community residents so that they are better informed about what is happening in their communities and prepared to take action. One approach is to provide data and information that can help residents better understand their options, fight for more options if needed and be active participants in the decision making and planning process.

Technical assistance over the years has helped strengthen the community development capacity of organizations and communities. Two examples are the Healthy Community Plan of West Humboldt Park and Austin Coming Together – both which have helped to develop new approaches to address community needs and concerns.

Planning Transportation to Meet the Needs of an Aging Illinois: An Assessment (2014)

Illinois’ growing older adult population will require significant transportation, healthcare, and housing resources.  In light of this need, this report provides population projections for the older adult population, assesses housing, transportation, and mobility characteristics throughout Illinois to identify need, and reviews focused conversations with key stakeholders, offering conclusions and recommendations for improvement.  Funding for this report was provided by the Metropolitan Transportation Support Initiative (METSI).

South Suburban Retail Investment Study (2012)

Is race a driver or mitigating factor in some retail decisions? This was the question asked by four racially mixed Chicago suburbs (Olympia Fields, Matteson, Park Forest, and Richton Park). A comprehensive, two-year retail investment study, published in 2012, led by Teska Associates and funded by the Small Business Administration examined reasons, including race, for the lack of Class A retail and restaurant establishments in these communities. The findings suggest that at times race is a factor but not necessarily the sole driver as would be the case if it were retail redlining. The report provides possible solutions to challenges in providing the shopping and dining opportunities community members’ desire.

Data and Democracy Project: Examining CPS’ plan to close, turnaround, or phase out 17 schools (2012)

Collaboration of the Nathalie P. Voorhees Center for Neighborhood and Community Improvement and the Collaborative for Equity and Justice in Education. Report published on 2002 regarding CPS’ plan to close, turnaround, or phase out 17 schools.

Transit Equity Matters: An Equity Index and Regional Analysis of the Red Line and Two Other Proposed CTA Transit Extensions and Appendix (2009)

Prepared by Voorhees Center staff in 2009 for Developing Communities Project, Inc. The study is a sub-regional comparative analysis of transit investments in the region and their potential for positive impact on regional equity issues.

Data and Democracy Project: Investing in Neighborhoods (2008)

Collaboration of the Nathalie P. Voorhees Center for Neighborhood and Community Improvement and the Collaborative for Equity and Justice in Education. Report published on 2008 regarding CPS’ plan to close or consolidate 11 schools, and turn-around 8 schools.

Humboldt Park Demographic and Housing Survey

Prepared for Latin United Community Housing Association (LUCHA) in 2005. Report is a survey of demographic and housing data used to assess conditions and trends in the Humboldt Park community.

The Case for Transit-Oriented Development in the Greater Roseland Area (2005)

Prepared for Developing Communities Project (DCP) in 2005. Report examines the three alternative routes for the proposed extension of the CTA Red Line from 95th Street to 130th, paying particular attention to the route advocated by the community. Report includes in-depth analysis of transit-oriented development at one of the proposed stops on the community route.

Senior Housing on Chicago’s Southwest Side: With a Focus on Latino Seniors  (2004)

A Market Feasibility Study Prepared for The Resurrection Project (TRP) in 2004. The report assesses the feasibility of developing housing and specifically an affordable supportive living facility (SLF) for seniors on Chicago’s southwest side.

Highland Park Affordable Housing Needs and Implementation Plan (2001)

Prepared for the City of Highland Park in 2001. This plan document changes in the population and housing affecting affordable housing demand, and makes recommendations based on strategies that the community deemed feasible and appropriate for helping the city of Highland Park. The plan was adopted by the City Council on January 22, 2001 and became an element of Highland Park’s Master Plan. Since its adoption, the City has received several awards. In 2002, the Plan received the Illinois Tomorrow Award which highlighted outstanding balanced growth initiatives. In 2003, the City won the AIA Illinois—A Council of the American Institute of Architects Honor Award. Recently, the Plan won the American Planning Association (APA) 2006 Current Topic Award for Housing Choice and Affordability.

Assessment of Housing Investment and Price Trends in the West Englewood Community (1999)

Prepared for the Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago, Inc. (NHS) in 1999. The report assesses the trends in residential lending, residential sales, and quality of life in several of Chicago’s most disadvantaged communities.