Chicago Metropolis 2020 is working with other civic organizations, business leaders, housing advocacy groups, and elected officials to increase the supply of housing that is affordable to working people, especially housing near job sites and public transit. Housing is at the core of opportunity in our region.

Too many families find themselves stretched to pay the mortgage or rent, and our region remains highly segregated by race and income. Chicago Metropolis 2020 is working to develop a regional housing strategy that will meet the needs of families and employers while broadening access to economic opportunity.

Homes for a Changing Region Overview

Homes for a Changing Region is a forward looking report on the housing needs of the Chicago region.

The report compares the housing required to meet the needs of the expected population growth of 2 million people with the type of housing being planned. It also suggests action steps for the state, the region and local communities to meet the housing needs.

This report was a joint project of the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, a collaboration of the mayors of all municipalities in the region, and Chicago Metropolis 2020, a business-backed civic organization promoting long-term planning and smart investment in the Chicago region.

Homes for a Changing Region (Phase 1 from 2005) (PDF, 2.05 MB)

Homes for a Changing Region—Year One and Two: Implementing Balanced Housing
Plans at the Local Level (2007)

The Homes for a Changing Region Overview (2005) forecasted a serious mismatch between the type of housing being planned in the Chicago region and the housing likely to be needed by the growing population. The report warned that too many large-lot, expensive single family homes and too few small-lot single family homes, town houses and condominiums were being planned.

Chicago Metropolis 2020 and the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus have collaborated with leaders from Aurora, Libertyville and Oak Forest for Year One and Gurnee, Montgomery and Northlake for Year Two to develop community-specific plans to help each of those community demonstrate strategies to help these communities address their forecasted growth and needs for balanced housing at the local level.

To read our press release, you may click here. If you are interested in downloading the report (it is a large file and you should "right click" on the file and choose the "save as" option to save it to your computer), you may click on the report cover below.

This project was graciously supported by contributions from the Chicago Community Trust, the Fannie Mae Foundation, the Harris Family Foundation the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and National City Bank, which underwrote the printing of this report.

Home Grown: Local Housing Strategies in Action

Home Grown is a collection of more than 30 housing-related Best Practices from the Chicago region. It shows municipal officials how their peers are addressing housing issues and provides ideas for replicating or improving upon these approaches to address their own local housing challenges. This collection demonstrates that many exciting, innovative, local efforts are contributing to a quality, diverse housing stock that meets the needs of a variety of residents in our region.

Each best practices summary focuses on how a program, policy or development came about, how it works, why it has been successful, and how it is financed. While many of the best practices address affordable housing issues, other topics, such as fair housing and accessibility, are included in the binder.

In many cases, we include information on how the public was involved in the process, and what lessons the community learned, including what local leaders would do differently in hindsight.

If you would like to suggest a local housing development, policy, or program to be included in future editions, please contact Beth Dever with the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus (312/201-4507;, Nancy Firfer with Chicago Metropolis 2020 (312/332-8130;, or Josh Ellis with the Metropolitan Planning Council (312/863-6045;

Metropolis Index: Housing as Opportunity

The Metropolis Index enables us to assess the state of our region and identify policies that will strengthen our economic competitiveness. The decision to focus the Index on housing is significant in two respects.

First, it underscores our belief that housing is far more than a place to live. A home is also a gateway to opportunity - the most important connection to jobs, schools, transit and community. If we are to provide access to economic opportunity for more Chicago area families, than we must provide a broader range of housing choices throughout the region.

Second, the Metropolis Index reinforces our belief that housing, like so many other issues, must be tackled regionally. It is an economic imperative: Workers must have housing choice reasonably close to job centers if our economy is to remain robust.

Metropolis Index: Housing as Opportunity (PDF, 7.66 MB)

Chicago Metropolis 2020 Comprehensive Housing Strategies:
Federal, State, Regional &Local—Recommendations for Developing Attainable Workforce Housing in the Chicago Region

Citing the lack of a comprehensive plan to create sufficient housing for workers, Chicago Metropolis 2020 has issued a 40-point Workforce Housing Action Agenda aimed at helping the region meet the demand for attainable housing.

The Workforce Housing Action Agenda published by Chicago Metropolis 2020 details specific steps which need to be taken by local, state and federal governments, as well as by the business community.

The action plan calls for local zoning reforms and increased emphasis on building code enforcement and property maintenance by local governments; increased state government assistance and rewards to communities that create a broad range of housing; expansion and improvement of federal programs to increase affordable housing options; and more corporate action to create workforce housing. The report can be downloaded as an Adobe Acrobat file by clicking below.

Recommendations for Developing Attainable Workforce Housing in the Chicago Region (PDF, 5.65 MB)