For over four decades, the Oak Park Regional Housing Center has been committed to its mission of promoting and sustaining residential integration in Oak Park and the region. Our Fair Housing programming has been recognized as a model and a best practice within the community and across the nation. Through our rental referral program, OPRHC helps individuals expand their housing options by providing them with the ability and encouragement they may need to rent or purchase a home in any area regardless of their race or ethnicity. Oak Park Regional Housing Center works to continue to maintain residential integration in Oak Park and the region, block by block, building by building.
Many people say, “Oak Park has achieved integration, why do we need the Housing Center”? Obviously I am going to tell you. OPRHC is needed now more than ever. With the growing developments, increase in market rate rents, there are segments of our population that we must target to help Oak Park remain true to its core values and its brand, the market of “excellence” that has been built into the Oak Park Housing stock. Excellence that arrived from the high market demands, not because of the location to the City of Chicago; not because of the good schools; not because of the beautiful community characteristics, but the racially and ethnically integrated fabric of which the Village of Oak Park has become.
Even though the Oak Park Regional Housing Center has established this national model for integration, our work and our impact is not fully recognized. What is the impact of integration? Research has shown that a diverse workforce can improve financial performance. Racially diverse schools and classrooms create cognitive, social, and emotional benefits. In addition, living in a racially integrated community can positively impact an individual’s identity and how they interact with others. These actions require on going intention, and that is what Oak Park Regional Housing Center is here to continue to do. Without this intention, these great benefits and impacts would diminish. This is why investments in the Oak Park Regional Housing Center is critical. OPRHC’s efforts to continue to promote and maintain integration positively affects property values, social and communal relations.
In the past 48 years, OPRHC has introduced more than 70,000 new people to the Village of Oak Park. This alone has increased the market value and notoriety of the greatest Village to live in the United States. In 2020, during one of the most anomalous times of our generation, OPRHC continued in our work and registered over 1200 individual apartment renters seeking to reside in Oak Park; another 100 seeking to reside in the region; provided homebuyer education to over 300 households; assisted others with improving their credit score; and helping over 75 individuals and their families become homeowners! And this is just some of our impact for 2020. You live in Oak Park because you choose this community! Oak Park is not just a place to live but a way of life committed to diversity, integration, and equality. If you would like to see all of Oak Park continue to flourish with strong stable property values and a foundation of community integration as an asset, support the Oak Park Regional Housing Center! You can get more info at oprhc.org/donate