The issues Lake County United works on evolve over time in response to the interests and initiative of its members and to current events.
Current Issue Campaigns
Report on March 6th Leadership Assembly with Candidates for Lake County Board & State Legislature
On Tuesday, March 6th, 80 Lake County United members assembled at Christ United Methodist Church to meet with the candidates for Lake County Board & State Legislature from the southeast part of Lake County. This was one of three assemblies prior to the March 20th Primary Election – the others were held on February 23rd in Libertyville and March 11th in Waukegan. This is a brief summary of the March 6th assembly, and the candidates’ responses to our concerns.
Download the report. (2.7MB .PDF)
Report on Feb. 23rd Leadership Assembly with Candidates for Lake County Board, 15th District
On Thursday, February 23rd, 30 Lake County United leaders assembled at Libertyville United Methodist Church to meet with the candidates for Lake County Board in the 15th District. This was one of three leadership assemblies prior to the March 20th Primary Election – the others will be held on March 6th in Deerfield and March 11th in Waukegan. This is a summary of the Feb 23rd assembly, and the candidates’ responses to our concerns.
Download the report. (1.3MB .PDF)
Waukegan to College
Now in its second year, W2C is serving 33 students from 21 families. The program is running well and is increasingly able to respond to the specific needs of our students and families. For instance, we have begun implementing a Read to Achieve program, with the Waukegan Public Library, for all students to improve reading comprehension and skill in reading aloud. We are also developing a six-week summer program for students to accelerate academic achievement. We also now have a 12 member W2C Planning Team that is working on a long-term strategy for funding, structure and governance, and measuring success.
Lake County United leaders remain vigilant in pursuit of the county’s $31 million new building for Winchester House. Though the County Board voted 22-1 in favor of the new building to Lake County United’s campaign, the economy and tax revenues have changed drastically in the intervening three years. Though it may prove a more challenging project than initially imagined, we still believe in the importance of Winchester House and its mission to provide high quality nursing care to anyone regardless of income. We have met with the new County Board President David Stolman and Healthcare and Community Services Committee Chair Aaron Lawlor to let them know we will not retreat from this position. See the Lake County United white paper Aging Well in Lake County (847KB .pdf).
Grayslake Senior Apartments
Lake County United has supported Mercy Housing Lakefront’s proposal for 70 units of affordable senior housing in Grayslake. Lake County United was pivotal in the building’s original planning with our active community leadership inspiring Mercy to come to Lake County and to include a 25% set aside of units for seniors with special needs in the project. We then helped Mercy secure rental subsidies from the Lake County Housing Authority, tax credit financing from the Illinois Housing Development Authority, and are now working closely with them to secure the final zoning approval for the project from the Grayslake Village government. Some local “Not In My Back Yard” opposition has appeared, so a strong local organizing effort will be required.
Issues in Discussion, Research, & Development
Foreclosure Prevention / Mortgage Modification Initiative in Waukegan
Lake County United has begun discussions with Mercy Housing Lakefront about the potential for a private mortgage modification program, where a Mercy related entity would buy mortgages in default or in the early stages of foreclosure from banks or Wall Street investors at a steep discount and then modify the mortgage terms (interest rate or principal amount or both) to make it possible for the family to remain in the home. Mercy is attempting to set up a fund to make this possible and is interested in working with us to target a geographic area in Waukegan to implement it. We are working with local leaders and the city of Waukegan to target an area of Waukegan.
Foreclosure Remediation Legislation
Lake County United has been approached by allies in Cook County about supporting three pieces of legislation pending in Springfield to respond to the on-going impact of the foreclosure crisis in Illinois. One bill (HB 1810) would impose a $500 fee on the sale of foreclosed homes, usually paid by the bank, to support foreclosure prevention and intervention activities. A second (HB 1109) would allow local municipalities more authority in holding lenders responsible for maintaining vacant and abandoned properties. A third (HB 1108) would facilitate the creation of local land banks to help in the process of rehabbing vacant homes and returning them to productive use and the tax rolls. After some review and discussion, we may choose to approach local legislators about supporting and co-sponsoring these bills.
Affordable Housing Discussions in Deerfield
15 leaders from St. Gregory’s Episcopal, Congregation Solel, North Shore Unitarian Church, and Christ United Methodist Church gathered in early March to begin discussion on strategies for increasing access to affordable housing in Deerfield. Both Community Partners for Affordable Housing and the Housing Opportunity Development Corporation are interested in working with the group. Additionally, Christ United Methodist has several lay leaders that serve on the board of 1 Deerfield Place, an affordable senior building in Deerfield. Several years back, they refinanced the building and now have decided to reinvest their roughly $1 million surplus in new affordable housing in Deerfield.
Aging in Place Efforts in Highland Park & Deerfield
Congregation Solel has initiated efforts to start up a “Senior Village” in the Highland Park / Deerfield area. The village would be a membership cooperative to support seniors aging in their own homes. The village would create a well-vetted set of resources and referrals for members as well as opportunities for social engagement. St. Gregory’s Episcopal and North Shore Unitarian leaders have begun to join in the effort and leaders from the local Faith in Action group and Highland Park senior center have agreed to serve on the working group to move the effort forward.
Expanding Transportation Options for the Elderly and Disabled
Building on the success of a pilot program with four Northwest Lake County townships, the Lake County Center for Independent Living is interested in working with Lake County United to expand the program to other townships around Lake County and ensuring that a fair share of the County’s sales tax for transportation goes to public transit uses such as this. LCCIL has begun to hold house meetings to look for interest and leadership on this issue and begun initial discussions with Libertyville Township.
Latino Leadership Development in Waukegan
We recently completed an 8-week Spanish-language training series for 35-40 leaders at Most Blessed Trinity Catholic Parish in Waukegan. We are very hopeful that we will have a solid core team at the parish – 22 leaders signed up to serve on the team at the last session. In the course of the training, a number of issue concerns have come up: education, safety, healthcare, foreclosures, towing ordinance, etc.
June IAF Training 2012
Metro Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) will offer a 5-day version of its acclaimed national leadership training in Chicago this June. Co-sponsored by Seabury-Western Theological Seminary and the ELCA Office for Congregation Based Organizing, the course may be taken for credit if desired. It will include the core universals and skills taught in somewhat longer IAF training offerings. This training will be useful for emerging leaders, leaders who have been involved in broad-based organizing but have yet to participate in other trainings, and staff of member organizations.