Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle today announced sweeping changes to the Housing Authority of Cook County (HACC) by appointing four new board members, representing a majority on the seven-member board. Preckwinkle Moves to Overhaul Housing Authority of Cook County The newly constituted board will be charged with implementing both short and long-term policy changes aimed at stabilizing the Authority’s finances and promoting the health, safety and employment opportunities for Housing Authority residents.
“Previously, the Housing Authority of Cook County has been overlooked and consistently underutilized in the County’s efforts to improve housing and the quality of life for suburban residents,” said President Toni Preckwinkle. “Revitalizing the mission and the goals of the HACC will help us improve access to fair and affordable housing while strengthening our communities.”
A longtime champion of fair and affordable housing since her time as Alderman of Chicago’s 4th ward, Preckwinkle’s appointees to the HACC Board are experienced professionals with backgrounds in housing, economic development, finance and community service. Hipolito (Paul) Roldan, Chief Executive Officer of Hispanic Housing Development Corporation, has developed over 3,500 affordable apartments and townhomes in 45 various developments for families and elderly residents of several Hispanic communities in Chicago. Deniece Jordan-Walker, an attorney with over 30 years of experience in municipal and corporate law and finance, is the principal of Public Finance Advisors LLC. Wendy Walker Williams is the executive director of the South East Chicago Commission (SECC), a not for profit 501(c)3 organization located on the south side of Chicago. The fourth appointee, Polly Kuehl, is Senior Vice President of Property Management for Evergreen Real Estate Services, LLC and former Executive Director of Housing for Luthern Social Services of Illinois.
“I am confident that these new appointees will work tirelessly to connect families to worthy housing opportunities throughout Cook County and strive to engage the Housing Authority with our communities in need,” Preckwinkle said.
At a news conference, Preckwinkle announced robust policy changes for the HACC to improve efficiency of operations, including joint purchasing power with the County to lower costs and using the County’s Job Order Contracting (JOC) Program for construction contracts. Cook County will seek to incorporate the HACC into existing contracts to perform comprehensive real estate assessments on HACC properties to create a strategy for more effective and efficient property utilization.
The HACC will also step up collaboration with County offices and agencies. The Housing Authority will look to leverage the County’s purchasing power for things like office supplies and paper over the next month and the County’s JOC for construction by late summer, realizing savings that can be put back into services for residents. The Cook County Bureau of Finance will also be working with the Authority to identify innovative financing solutions to address HACC’s backlog of deferred maintenance.
“By leveraging the resources that Cook County government has at its disposal, the HACC will be better positioned to thrive,” said Richard Monocchio, HACC Executive Director. “President Preckwinkle’s long-standing commitment to affordable housing is instrumental in giving us the tools we need to strengthen and modernize our operations. “
The Housing Authority of Cook County is the second largest provider of affordable housing in the State of Illinois. It is committed to promoting opportunity for quality housing to low and moderate income families, the elderly and the disabled throughout Cook County. The seven-member Board of Commissioners meets on a monthly basis. Commissioners serve five-year terms.