New Paper From the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at UC Berkeley Explores Issues in “Uneven” Housing Capacity

On April 26, 2022, The Terner Center published a paper, authored by Research Director and frequent BRicK collaborator Elizabeth Kneebone, titled An Uneven Housing Safety Net: Disparities in the Disbursement of Emergency Rental Assistance and the Role of Local Institutional Capacity.” The paper provides quantitative analysis of the disbursement of ERAP (Emergency Rental Assistance Program) funding on the county level, measuring take-up efficiency against the capacity of local nonprofits and governments, the extent of pre-existing economic hardship, and the pandemic’s effects on the job market. The paper concludes that ERAP funding is reaching many eligible households, but counties with higher levels of pre-pandemic economic hardship and/or where local nonprofits lack resources and strong community ties display lower levels of fund take-up. Thus, state/federal reallocation of aid must be done in such a manner where capacity gaps are addressed.

BRicK worked with Elizabeth on research for a complementary paper, which took a more qualitative approach to this topic. Using ERAP as an example, the paper looked at how various places have responded to crises in the past and present and what lessons can be learned to build and maintain capacity in the future, as well as how government entities can assist in this process. See publications page for more updates. 

May 2022

New Regional Opportunity Area Development Finance Initiative launched in Kansas City, MO

BRicK Partners, together with its colleague Antonio Riley,  has worked with local leaders to create the The ROAD Forward (a Regional Opportunity Area Development Finance Initiative), with the goal of encouraging affordable housing development for families near jobs, transportation, educational opportunities, and other amenities in the Kansas City, Missouri region. BRicK has been honored to help facilitate this collaboration, which includes the Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) of Kansas City and Lee’s Summit, the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC), the City of Kansas City, and the LISC and United Way of Greater Kansas City. In consultation with the Missouri Housing Development Commission, these partners will leverage rent subsidies and other financing and leadership to increase the supply of housing options in opportunity areas.

August 2021

North West Housing Partnership and BRicK collaboration, CAPABLE, continues work

BRicK Partners is excited to announce that the North West Housing Partnership received funding to continue the successful CAPABLE project, which helps seniors to safely age in place.  CAPABLE, based on a program developed by Johns Hopkins University, combines the services of a nurse, occupational therapist, and handyperson to identify and resolve barriers to living independently.  The North West Housing Partnership administers the program and BRicK Partners provides technical assistance to CAPABLE.  The initial two years of CAPABLE concluded in December 2020, and the Retirement Research Foundation has stepped up to support another year of the initiative.  CAPABLE serves individuals over 65 years of age and living in Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Des Plaines, Mount Prospect, Palatine, Rolling Meadows, and all areas in Wheeling and Palatine Townships.

CAPABLE was recently featured in the New York Times.  The North West Housing Partnership/BRicK CAPABLE initiative is one of more than 30 CAPABLE programs around the US, and, as noted in the article, these programs are helping people become more independent and able to remain safely in their homes.  The local CAPABLE program was also recently highlighted in the Daily Herald.

May 2021

Luncheon discussion on housing, development, and equity hosted by Housing Opportunities for Women

On Thursday, October 17, Housing Opportunities for Women (HOW) hosted a luncheon featuring a panel discussion about housing, development, and equity. Robin Snyderman from BRicK served as one of the panelists at the mixed fundraiser/educational event with 100-150 attendees from corporate and individual sponsorships and ticket purchases. Other panelists included Katrina Van Valkenburgh from the Corporation for Supportive Housing and Tony Smith from PNC Bank, with HOW Board President James Fox of North Wells Capital moderating.

October 17, 2019

City of Kansas City Neighborhood Housing Department to host Fair Housing and Equality Summit

In Kansas City, MO, the city’s Neighborhood Housing and Human Relations Departments held a public Fair Housing and Equality Summit. National and local housing experts and speakers from the NAACP presented and ran workshops on fair housing, homeownership, housing mobility, Section 3 programming, barriers in the housing market, and more. Representing BRicK Partners, Robin Snyderman spoke during the housing mobility section about providing technical assistance to ensure fair access to housing and promoting inclusion in high-opportunity areas that are proven to have better life outcomes for residents.

August 29, 2019

Breakfast Discussion with Chicago SRI/ESG Investors About Opportunity Zones

Karen Muchin of BRicK Partners spoke on a panel at an event for investment professionals interested in learning more about Opportunity Zones. Other panelists included Ben Bornstein from Arctaris Capital and Matt Reilein from the National Equity Fund.  

The federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 created the so-called Opportunity Zones to encourage investments in low-income communities across the country to create jobs and businesses and to foster economic growth through tax incentives. Karen and the other guest speakers were invited to cover the reasoning for the creation and location of the Opportunity Zones, economic incentives, types of investments, and community impact. Read more about Opportunity Zones here. The Chicago SRI/ESG meetings pull together investors interested in socially responsible investing (SRI) and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors of investment. The informational events occur once every quarter and are free to attend.

June 27, 2019

Innovation in Housing Investments Forum with Attorney General Kwame Raoul, hosted by Forefront

On April 5, the new Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul and his staff joined BRicK Partners, a number of the original program Advisors and awardees, and other state leaders and national experts to review outcomes and lessons learned from the Community Revitalization and Housing Counseling Program.  Particular attention focused on maintaining the momentum of this work and its tremendous overlap with Illinois’ Opportunity Zones. Read more here.

April 5, 2019

A business leader’s perspective on meeting regional housing needs

The November Community of Practice gathering in 2017 focused on building a community of acceptance for affordable housing, with a special emphasis on engaging the private sector based on BRicK’s Robin Snyderman’s November posts for the Community of Practice blog on paving the way for more affordable housing. Following that meeting, one of the Chicago participants, King Harris shared their own post, entitled “A business leader’s perspective on meeting regional housing needs,” highlighting some ideas for how to reach out to employers. Read more here.

February 8, 2018

Advancing Regional Solutions

BRicK has been pleased to support the Brookings Institution in convening a Community of Practice on Regional Housing Solutions, bringing together a diverse array of partners from the Baltimore, Chicago, Kansas City, and Minneapolis-Saint Paul regions to share best practices, troubleshoot common challenges, and develop policy solutions that increase access housing in priority opportunity and reinvestment areas.

This post, co-authored by BRicK Partner’s Robin Snyderman on October 23, 2017, is the first in a series that will highlight innovative strategies and tools designed to help increase and diversify the supply of quality housing in the four Community of Practice regions. Businesses, families, and communities succeed when children can attend good schools and parents can enjoy an easy commute to work. Yet neighborhoods with that kind of access to opportunity are typically unaffordable to local workers and others with limited means. Many local and regional leaders are developing responses to this challenge, and the Community of Practice blog posts will showcase some of these initiatives.

Following on the initial blog entry noted above, BRicK Partner’s Robin Snyderman coauthored another post for the Community of Practice on Regional Housing Solutions in November 2017. The November Community of Practice gathering focused on building community acceptance for affordable housing, with a special emphasis on engaging the private sector. Following that meeting, one of the Chicago participants, King Harris, shared this blog post with some ideas for how to reach out to employers.


By the Numbers: Concentrated Poverty

The New York University Furman Center hosted a forum “By the Numbers: Concentrated Poverty.” BRicK’s Robin Snyderman served as a panelist discussing poverty and its spatial concentrations. The program ran from 4-6pm EST with a reception following from 6-7:30pm EST. Click here to see the video.

June 7, 2017

Illinois Housing Council Panel

Karen Muchin of BRicK Partners moderated a panel to discuss the current outlook of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program and investor market during these times of uncertainty at the Illinois Housing Council’s Networking Breakfast on January 26.

January 26, 2017

Council of Large Public Housing Authorities Spring Meeting

On April 7th and 8th, the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities (CLPHA) held its annual spring meeting in Washington, D.C. BRicK Partners’ Robin Snyderman participated in a panel discussion with the Chicago Housing Authority and the Housing Authority of Cook County to highlight the Regional Housing Initiative as a catalyst for similar programs across the country. Click here to learn more.

April 7, 2016

Midwest convening for the Third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development

The University of Chicago hosted the Midwest convening for the Third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, which will take place in Quito, Ecuador in October 2016. HUD is co-hosting five convenings around the country prior to the UN conference with three goals: 1) To provide an open forum to scholars, practitioners, philanthropy, students, and thought leaders for the sharing of local challenges and lessons learned in the last 20 years since Habitat II; 2) To stimulate dialogue about connections between local and global challenges, and uplift local practices to inform the U.S. policy agenda; and 3) To strengthen connections among urban development practitioners, scholars, and funders across the Midwestern region. BRicK Partners’ Robin Snyderman moderated a panel discussion on securing housing options for all. Click here to learn more.

March 31, 2016

Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings

Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings hosted an event to discuss renewed efforts to expand access to opportunity via housing and transportation. Brookings Vice President and Director of the Metropolitan Policy Program Amy Liu moderated a conversation between U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro and U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. The conversation was followed by a response panel of experts from metropolitan areas across the country, including BRicK Partners’ Robin Snyderman, who discussed local level impacts. Click here to learn more.

February 23, 2016

Fair Housing Panel

Fair Housing considerations affect the location of affordable housing, funding criteria, architectural design criteria, and property management practices. BRicK Partners participated in a panel discussion on prioritizing locations for affordable housing at a seminar covering a myriad of fair housing topics. The seminar, sponsored by the Lightengale Group and aimed at housing developers, took place in downtown Chicago, and also covered the goals of fair housing, architectural requirements, and fair housing during operations and property management insurance coverage. Click here to learn more.

January 27, 2016

HUD Practitioner

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) hosted a practitioner convening for regional housing mobility programs in Chicago, Rockford (IL), Baltimore, Twin Cities, Philadelphia, Denver, and St. Louis, at its headquarters in Washington, DC, to educate each other on strategies and best practices in creating a successful program. BRicK Partners’ Robin Snyderman presented, along with Jonathan Burch with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, on the topic of project-based voucher assistance. This session delved into what the Regional Housing Initiative has accomplished in the Chicago region, and presented it as an example of a best practice for the other programs in attendance. Click here to view the agenda and download materials from the convening.

January 21-22, 2016

Barriers and incentives for employer-assisted housing

“More Companies May Start Helping Employees Buy Homes,” an article posted in Bloomberg Business from December 18, 2015, in response to the news that Facebook would begin offering incentives for employees to move within ten miles of its Menlo Park, California, headquarters, discussed the barriers and incentives for employers to invest in worker housing. BRicK Partners’ Robin Snyderman is quoted regarding the role of anchor institutions that commit to community development in disinvested neighborhoods by incentivizing renovations and purchases in very specific areas.


Renewed interest in Employer-Assisted Housing in a challenging housing market

BRicK Partners and two of its innovating clients were referenced in an article posted in Bloomberg BNA Workforce Strategies from August 2015, “Employee Benefits: Employer-Assisted Housing Programs,” that discusses renewed employer interest in workforce housing solutions in the current housing market.

August 2015

Employer-Assisted Housing programs inspire new legislation

An article posted in the Bloomberg BNA Human Resources Report from February 9, 2015, “Employer-Assisted Housing Programs Offer Stable Workforce, Needed Aid for Employees,” discussed a number of employer-assisted housing efforts across the country, from Stanford University to government agencies in the District of Columbia, and highlighted new workforce housing incentive legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. The article quoted BRicK Partners’ Robin Snyderman on the bottom line benefits of these programs for employers.

February 9, 2015

Investing in People and Places for Upward Mobility

HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research hosted an evidence-based dialogue exploring the most impactful strategies for investing in people and in places to support upward mobility and a frank discussion of the challenges. A growing body of research underscores the importance of place in helping promote inter-generational mobility. This is especially true for low-income families. BRicK Partners’ Robin Snyderman participated in a panel along with Mark Joseph (Case Western Reserve University), Jens Ludwig (University of Chicago), and Carol Naughton (Purpose Built Communities) to connect the evidence to current events and policy and highlight range of approaches that can make a difference on the ground. Among other questions, the panel explored the following questions: • What are the most effective ways to improve the outcomes for low-income families—through both of the levers HUD embraces, supporting mobility to lower poverty neighborhoods and supporting in-place neighborhood transformation? • What are the lessons learned from Moving to Opportunity, HOPE VI, Choice Neighborhoods and other initiatives that should shape our future work, and what are the obstacles? Click here to read more about the panel and the body of research.

June 25, 2015

University and Employer-Assisted Housing

“Should Urban Universities Help Their Neighbors?” an article posted in The Atlantic on January 19, 2015, references BRicK Partners’ Robin Snyderman, spotlights the leadership of the University of Chicago, and the work that Robin and BRicK’s Samantha DeKoven supported while at the Metropolitan Planning Council. BRicK Partners assists employers and public sector leaders in their common efforts to promote vibrant communities with appealing workforce housing choices near jobs and transit.

January 19, 2015

Employer-Assisted Housing

In response to a February 28, 2014, New York Times op-ed on employer-assisted housing, BRicK Partners’ Samantha DeKoven discussed this benefit as a way to retain quality employees and promote corporate sustainability goals while helping employees have better quality of life and build personal wealth, particularly for anchor institutions such as universities and hospitals. Click here to read her opinion editorial.


Promoting Diversity, Inclusion and Healthy Communities via Regional Public Housing Coordination

An article posted in The Atlantic on February 2, 2014, “Is Ending Segregation the Key to Ending Poverty?” provides an extensive history and analysis of legal efforts and federal programs, beginning with Chicago’s historic Gautreaux vs. Chicago Housing Authority desegregation law suit, that have tried to improve the lives of people living in concentrated poverty. Included in the article is the Chicago Region Housing Choice Initiative (CRHCI), the unique partnership that BRicK Partners has been assisting among nine of the Chicago region’s public housing authorities, the Metropolitan Planning Council, Housing Choice Partners, the Illinois Housing Development Authority and a host of other stakeholders. The article features the original litigator of Gautreaux, Alex Polikoff, and references an evaluation of mobility efforts in Baltimore by Johns Hopkins University’s Stefanie DeLuca. Both Mr. Polikoff and Ms. DeLuca have served on an advisory committee for CRHCI that has been chaired by Barbara Sard of the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.

February 2, 2014

Confronting Suburban Poverty, One Year In

In celebration of the one-year anniversary of the publication of Confronting Suburban Poverty in America, the Brookings Institution began publishing a series of practitioner briefs and case studies to provide a toolkit for practitioners across the country. BRicK Partners’ Robin Snyderman and Beth Dever co-wrote a brief exploring the achievements of the two suburban housing collaboratives in Chicago’s south suburbs and west Cook County.

Confronting Suburban Poverty in America: Chicagoland Meetings

Brookings Institution’s Confronting Suburban Poverty in America authors, Elizabeth Kneebone and Alan Berube, joined BRicK Partners for a series of meetings in Chicagoland with suburban policymakers, public and private sector funders, service providers and other key stakeholders. Click here for more information about the culminating event. Click here for a WBEZ story from September 5, 2013, about a Heartland Alliance study on suburban poverty in Chicago. Click here for a WTTW Chicago Tonight story from November 4, 2013, on suburban poverty, featuring Elizabeth Kneebone.

September 26, 2013

Metropolitan Planning Council Panel

BRicK Partners moderated a panel at Metropolitan Planning Council roundtable releasing a report it co-authored on Interjurisdictional Collaboration, entitled “Supporting and Sustaining Interjurisdictional Collaboration for Housing and Community Development.”

December 13, 2012

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