Assessing the Durability of COVID-Era Capacity Gains Among Community Based Organizations: Lessons From the Emergency Rental Assistance Program

On February 15, 2024, the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco released Assessing the Durability of COVID-Era Capacity Gains Among Community-Based Organizations: Lessons from the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, by Elizabeth Kneebone. BRicK Partners was honored to support Elizabeth in identifying, engaging, and learning from the agencies interviewed for this research. 

A follow up to Building Local Institutional Capacity: Lessons Learned from the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, which Elizabeth also authored and which BRicK also supported when she was at the Terner Center, this most recent publication looks at how the conclusion of the federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) affected the capacity and sustainability of the key organizations who supported lower-income renters with those funds. Both papers that BRicK supported built on the more quantitative October 2022 analysis of the disbursement of ERAP funds, entitled  “An Uneven Housing Safety Net: Disparities in the Disbursement of Emergency Rental Assistance and the Role of Local Institutional Capacity,” that Elizabeth authored as part of her work with the Housing Crisis Research Collaborative. It spotlighted the reality that state/federal reallocation of aid must be done in such a manner where capacity gaps are addressed, because the research demonstrated that ERAP funding reach many eligible households, but counties with higher levels of pre-pandemic economic hardship and/or where local nonprofits lack resources and strong community ties displayed lower levels of fund take-up. 

Attorney General National Foreclosure Settlement Awards 

BRicK Partners had the honor of assisting Illinois’ Office of the Attorney General (OAG) to disseminate and Support the National Foreclosure Settlement Housing Awards in the midst of what is now considered The Great Recession. 

One of the only states to utilize its remediation dollars to address the ripple effect of the foreclosure crisis, Illinois’ OAG allocated 52 awards for community revitalization, housing counseling, and technical assistance above and beyond its support for Court Mediation and Legal Assistance. 

Over 5,700 foreclosures were avoided, nearly 3,800 homes were stabilized, and approximately 57,000 households received housing counseling or financial literacy services as a result of these housing awards. 


Executive Summary 

Exhibit A- Geographic Map of Awards 

Exhibit B- Community Revitalization Award Summaries 

Exhibit C- Housing Counseling Award Summaries

Exhibit D- Technical Assistance Awards 

Exhibit E- DePaul Institute for Housing Report 

Exhibit F- Woodstock Institute Report 

Exhibit G- Report on Illinois Foreclosure Mediation

Exhibit H- Legal Assistance Awards

Homes for a Changing Region in Woodridge, Park Ridge, and Richton Park, Illinois

BRicK Partners was pleased to work with the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus on the Homes for a Changing Region process in Woodridge, Park Ridge, and Richton Park. 

The Homes initiative helps municipalities identify solutions to their most pressing housing challenges, create a balanced mix of housing types, and serve the needs of multiple generations of residents and workers. BRicK helped the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus team to research and produce the final reports consisting of market conditions, demographic statistics, analysis of community input, and policy and programmatic recommendations, including regarding expansion and preservation of the local affordable housing stock. 

Homes for a Changing Region, supported by the Illinois Housing Development Authority, has been a valuable resource across the region for almost 20 years, and provides an excellent opportunity for municipal leaders to get real time and actionable information on their communities. 


Building Local Institutional Capacity: Lessons Learned from the Emergency Rental Assistance Program

In her April 2022 analysis of “An Uneven Housing Safety Net: Disparities in the Disbursement of Emergency Rental Assistance and the Role of Local Institutional Capacity,” Terner Center for Housing Innovation’s Research Director Elizabeth Kneebone highlighted that housing inequities are not just about household disparities, but also about entities that support them.  The “disparities in local institutional capacity surfaced in this brief are also emblematic of long-standing challenges and gaps in the systems routinely used to deliver federal housing and community development funding to communities and households in need.”

Following up on this observation, Terner Center and BRicK Partners undertook dozens of stakeholder interviews with local leaders and industry experts to surface more of the relevant trends, lessons and opportunities to glean from their housing work during the pandemic and resulting recession.  This informed Elizabeth Kneebone’s more recent publication “Building Local Institutional Capacity: Lessons Learned from the Emergency Rental Assistance Program,” which was released in October of 2022.

BRicK Partners’ Robin Snyderman and Beth Dever collaborated with the Terner Center, working with the Housing Crisis Research Collaborative, to gather and analyze insights from municipalities, housing authorities, and related agencies on how their capacity impacted their COVID response and what could be done to grow capacity and resilience in the short-term and long-term.

Click here to read the full report. 

The Reparations Work Underway in Evanston, IL; Promoting an Affirmative and Accountable Government

Officed in Evanston,  BRicK Partners was honored when Robin Snyderman was asked by the American Bar Association Journal on Affordable and Community Development Law to write an article about the town’s historic Reparations work.

Already a big fan of former Evanston Alderman Robin Rue Simmons, now the executive director of FirstRepair and the visionary behind this monumental effort, BRicK was even more honored that Robin Rue Simmons accepted our invitation to co-author this important piece.

With the publication complete, and new perspective on “a tale of two Robins,” both FirstRepair and BRicK Partners see many opportunities for collaboration in the future.  BRicK’s experience promoting equitable communities through a variety of regional housing solutions and FirstRepair’s expertise in Reparations combine to offer new perspective and tools to supplement local, regional and national efforts.

Click here to read the complete article.

The Complexity of Financing Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Housing in the United States

UC Berkeley’s Terner Center for Housing Innovation released a new report in April 2021 entitled, “The Complexity of Financing Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Housing in the United States.” BRicK Partners’ Karen Muchin, Robin Snyderman, and Michelle Merritt collaborated with the Terner Center on this report as part of the center’s cost of building house research series that “examines the different cost factors that layer together to comprise the total costs to build housing.” Click here to read the full report.

New Deal for Housing Justice

BRicK Partners’ Robin and Beth were honored to be contributing authors on A New Deal for Housing Justice, which was handed to President Biden’s administration in January 2021. The playbook spanned 11 categories of policy recommendations, including Racial Justice, Disaster Recovery, and Resilient Communities. Many of the recommendations in the playbook informed the President’s January 26 Memorandum on Redressing Our Nation’s and the Federal Government’s History of Discriminatory Housing Practices and Policies.

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New essays in the What Works series support mixed-income housing

The What Works series on mixed-income housing just released three new essays, including one about increasing support for mixed-income housing co-authored by BRicK’s Robin Synderman and former HUD Region V Administrator Antonio R. Riley titled, “Embracing Odd Bedfellows in Odd Times: How to Sustain Financial and Political Support for Mixed-Income Communities.” Snyderman and Riley focus on how the Chicago-area Regional Housing Initiative (RHI) is a promising strategy for both mixed-income housing and housing mobility.

Community Revitalization and Housing Counseling Initiative

Karen and Robin helped the Illinois Attorney General Office to design and monitor a program to invest $70 million in the Community Revitalization and Housing Counseling. Their efforts were successful in redeveloping or stabilizing more than 3,200 homes, providing more than 50,000 households with housing counseling .

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Paving the way for more affordable housing: Expanding the Moving to Work program

Robin and her coauthor, Greg Russ, Executive Director and CEO of the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority, explore the possibility that more Public Housing Authorities could attain the flexibility of MTW status.

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Advancing Regional Solutions to Address America’s Housing Affordability Crisis

BRicK’s Robin Snyderman co-authored this post in October 2017 to highlight innovative strategies and tools designed to help increase and diversify the supply of quality housing in the four regions participating in Brooking’s Community of Practice.

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Chicago’s Regional Housing Initiative promotes regional mobility

This article, “Chicago’s Regional Housing Initiative promotes regional mobility,” published in the Brookings Institution in May 2016, written by Robin Snyderman, describes the Regional Housing Initiative as one scalable way to address segregation in American cities and to “work-around” national polices that contribute inadvertently to regional inequities.

Suburban Poverty and the Challenges of Both Public Perception and Public Policy

BRicK Partners’ Robin Snyderman wrote an essay on suburban poverty and the challenges of both public perception and public policy for Voices for Illinois Children’s Illinois Kids Count 2015 report.

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Regional Housing Initiative Pilot

The Metropolitan Planning Council and BRicK Partners collaborated on the Regional Housing Initiative pilot in the Chicago area. Their final report was submitted to HUD and published.

Anchors Lift All Boats: Eds & Meds Engaging with Communities

In the Winter 2015 Issue of Land Lines, Beth Dever discusses the role of civic engagement as the norm at some of the nation’s leading hospitals and universities, yielding vibrant neighborhoods and thriving business corridors that attract patients, students, and residents alike.

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Supporting and Sustaining Interjurisdictional Collaboration

In December 2012, Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC), the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus (MMC), and BRicK Partners published a report detailing the cross-border planning and community development collaborations of three clusters of Cook County municipalities in response to unprecedented increasing poverty in the suburbs. The paper points to policy reforms and best practices needed to support the success of these pioneers, and to make it easier for this model to be replicated.

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Smart Living, Smart Growth

Bridge Housing, a California affordable housing developer, released “Smart Living, Smart Growth,” to commemorate its 30th anniversary. The publication tells stories about how residents’ lives have been transformed by their living space in Bridge’s award-winning transit-oriented developments. BRicK Partners’ Robin Snyderman wrote an essay included in the publication.

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