This blog is a summary of Community Development and Policy Studies topics in the Seventh District from the latest CDPS Survey.
According to the latest CDPS survey:
- Many issues still impact the housing market in the Seventh District, especially in low- and moderate-income communities (LMI). Contacts mentioned that the oversupply of vacant homes, the number of underwater mortgages (unpaid balance surpasses home value), the high foreclosure rate, the inability of buyers to obtain mortgages, the high unemployment rate, and unsuccessful loan modifications or workouts all are negatively impacting the housing market. Further exacerbating the ailing housing market are neighborhood crime and the deterioration of existing buildings and infrastructure. Additionally, in states where the foreclosure process has lagged, there is a constant stream of distressed properties coming onto the market, thereby depressing property values.
- Most contacts reported that credit availability in LMI communities has not tightened recently, but that access to credit remains low.
- Many contacts noted the mismatch between worker skills and employer needs in the District. Ongoing educational programs to address the skills mismatch include: STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics programs; and community college collaboration with manufacturers and other employers to match curricula with needed skills.
- Contacts noted that there is also a geographical mismatch of jobs in the District (jobs are not located close to the unemployed).
- Research shows that many indicators of poverty—such as poor education, inadequate housing, racism, and poor nutrition—are also indicators of poor health. Increasing access to health care, while essential, is not sufficient to improve public health. Where someone lives is also closely associated with longevity and risk for disease. Community development contacts cite education as a way to foster improved health. Additionally, efficient garbage collection, the elimination of lead based paint, urban garden programs, and better-quality housing also improve public health.
- On a related note, the Chicago Fed just co-sponsored a summit with the Illinois Public Health Institute and other organizations involving the community development and public health fields. The summit explored ways the fields could work together to align goals and outcomes to serve the perspectives of policy, practice and financing. We plan to continue this work in the future with meetings with thought leaders and practitioners to culminate in a set of policy recommendations.
- Retailers are coming back to Chicago neighborhoods. While most new businesses and franchises have been opening in more affluent areas (‘flight to quality’), contacts noted that some new retailers have begun to open in secondary markets.