Naperville City Officials Getting Squeezed On Affordable Housing

The best and worst way to deal with a problem is to not acknowledge that it exists and maybe it will magically go away. It could be a cough, weeds in the yard, a car with an engine knock, a misbehaving child, or bills in the mail. If I don’t get the mail, then I don’t have to deal with the bills. But sooner or later it has to be addressed, and that’s where city officials find themselves with the lack of ‘affordable’ housing in Naperville. More and more eyes are focusing on the issue which then makes it a problem even if it’s not a problem.

The Illinois Housing Development Authority called out Naperville for not having enough affordable housing even though a 2013 report showed a little over 6% being affordable, and a 2018 report showed it had risen to slightly less than 8%, falling short of the 10% goal set by the IHDA.  Naperville is moving in the right direction, just not as fast as others would like. At this rate it could take another five years to reach the goal, but most importantly the goal will be reached unless the goal line is moved.

Naperville is the largest Illinois city not to meet the 10% goal along with being one the 46 towns to fall short of the threshold. Other towns, in addition to Naperville, short on affordable housing include: Barrington, Burr Ridge, Geneva, Hinsdale, Kenilworth, Lake Forest, Lincolnshire, Oak Brook, Wilmette, and Winnetka. What else do they have in common? They are all desirable destinations to raise a family. Who wouldn’t want to live in one of those towns?

I wanted to live in one of those towns when I graduated from college, but I couldn’t afford it. I started out in Davenport, Iowa, then Skokie (big mistake), then Des Plaines, and after three years of working 80-hours a week in the ‘real’ world I was able to afford a small home in Barrington, prior to moving to Naperville 41 years ago.

Rather than lowering Naperville’s  standard of living threshold in order to achieve affordable housing quickly, city officials need to take the time to identify important objectives, set appropriate priorities, and develop strategy to accomplish the goal, while anticipating consequences of decisions and actions. Doing it right trumps doing it fast.

Maybe the Rolling Stones got it right, “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you might find you get what you need”.

Show 6 Comments


  1. Karen Courney

    Naperville’s demographics are going to require more affordable housing in the near future. Instead of kicking the can down the road again let’s do something to solve the problem instead of just talking about it.

    • Nancy

      agree with Karen. Naperville will not be lowering its standard of living if it adds affordable/attainable housing to the 5th Avenue development. And hopefully other locations. The gigantic “senior housing” developments are not all that affordable either. And not every senior is interested in living in that type of arrangement. Just a nice little one bedroom apartment would be nice.

  2. Jim Haselhorst

    Increasing affordable house in Naperville to 10% is not going to significantly affect Naperville’s “standards”. Want to know what does effect this standard? Property owners/managers that are more interested in filling a vacant property then in properly screening applicants.

    It is not illegal to as a person if they have ever been convict of a crime. And the Naperville police have no problem running a background check on a applicant if asked. Not doing these things are what results in “undesirable” people moving to Naperville. Not how much affordable housing is in the city.

    The fastest way to insure Naperville’s brand is to enact an ordinance requiring all rental property managers to do the above mentioned screening and other things which have proven to be effective at keeping negative elements out of communities.

    • Nancy

      Oops jim. You obviously do not believe in second chances.

      • Jim Haselhorst

        It is not a matter of second chances, it is a matter of people with long criminal histories generally don’t change just because their zip code has.

        I use to live in the Plaza area of Kansas City Missouri. It is an upscale community like Naperville. One of the apartment buildings in the area was purchase by an Mideastern investor using HUD financing. He went bankrupt and HUD took possession of this Building and turned it all into low income housing. Crime rates in the area skyrocketed, because in the words of a local police officer, criminals like living within walking distance of their work.

        There are a lot of communities around us with affordable housing were these people can prove they have changed, we do not need to be providing these individuals affordable housing when there currently is not enough in our community to meet the demand for all the twenty-something that have grown up in this community that have contributed to it growth and prosperity.

  3. Ann

    Agree with some of the comments submitted. Couples wanting to start a family to raise and educate are constantly looking into territories that offer a safe protective enclave to feel we do not have to have eyes behind our heads when walking through the neighborhoods day or night. There will always be pockets, but preserving the beauty, cooperation of our neighbors, up keep, quality of education in schools, special activities, parades and manuscripts, pet control, respect and complimentary deliverance, tax lids and selection of well chosen, educated committee counsel members is paramount to survival and a trustworthy environment. Without these, we are a broken ship floating at sea, but refusing to sink. How to rebuild is an important concern within many communities seeking strong leadership, proper financial distribution and a unbending will to remain connected in determination to never fail. Not easy since we are beginning to witness an alarming movement of “bullying” that is causing the concerns of inhabitants to move onward to a more calm and stable terrain. Where might that be ? I think we’re losing on predictable housing security. When we look at the creation, under pressure, in major cities (Manhattan, Chicago, Los Angeles, etc.) back in the 70’s, we find that those who have to work, support their families, have to be able to reach their employers within a reasonable amount of time so, therefore, the axis of demarcation are allowed to be penetrated due to the availability of employed help. Rent control introduced. A tilt here and there creates unity, but not necessarily resolution. Gated developments offer some protection, but we can’t shut out harassment entirely. The thread of rebellion is within us all. It depends on how quickly it evolves ?

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