Rhonda Silence

Cook County approves HRA on unanimous vote by commissioners

Expressing a desire to address a critical issue facing the community, the board of commissioners this week voted unanimously to approve the formation of a Housing & Redevelopment Authority (HRA) in Cook County.

The board voted 5-0 to form the HRA during a meeting Tuesday, Aug. 24.

The formation of an HRA was a key talking point as local government looks to play a role in addressing the housing crunch in the community. The proposed HRA will be an entity managed and organized similar to the format of the local Economic Development Authority (EDA). Similar to the EDA, the HRA will have levy authority, though its budget must be approved annually by the county board. The initial budget for the HRA in 2022 is $125,000.

The HRA will have its own board of directors and the county will begin taking applicants in the weeks ahead, according to County Administrator James Joerke.

Once the HRA board is formed, the process to hire a director for the organization will begin. A director is likely to be hired later this year or in early 2022, Joerke previously told WTIP. The director will work to acquire grants and other funding to assist in bringing money to Cook County to build places for people to live.

Joerke stopped by WTIP Aug. 25 and spoke with News Director Joe Friedrichs about the formation of the HRA and the next steps in the process. Other topics discussed in the audio shared below include funding for arts organizations in Cook County, the hiring process for the next community center director and expectations on the 2022 levy.