Oak Park’s Housing Center garners national attention
Updated: August 27, 2012 10:55AM
OAK PARK — The Oak Park Regional Housing Center, long known as a regional leader in fair housing initiatives, is cited in an academic study report for its continued success in housing diversity.
“America’s Racially Diverse Suburbs: Opportunities and Challenges” was released July 20 by the Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity at the University of Minnesota Law School.
“Diverse suburbs represent some of the nation’s greatest hopes and its gravest challenges,” wrote study co-author Myron Orfield, who is director of the Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity.
Local experts say racial fairness and a stable mix of demographics doesn’t just happen.
“The report makes it clear that stable diversity and integration are not likely to remain sustainable without an active strategy to overcome the larger structure of segregation and exclusion that dominates metropolitan regions, especially in the Midwest and Northeast,” said Rob Breymaier, the Housing Center’s executive director.
The Minnesota report compared Oak Park with Hanover Park, which went through rapid racial change in the early 2000s, “going from 47 percent non-white in 2000 to 62 percent in 2010.
“In contrast, Oak Park, a community about 15 miles away that has a well-known stable-integration program, showed much greater stability, with a non-white share that grew from 34 percent to 36 percent during the same period.”
That success has attracted attention from national media outlets, including the New York Times. A National Journal article on the report referred to the “pioneering nonprofit called the Oak Park Regional Housing Center.”
Breymaier said there are certainly challenges to be faced.
“It is all the more remarkable that we have been able to sustain this success while situated in the third-most segregated region in the nation,” said Breymaier.
A copy of the new report can be found on the University of Minnesota website at: http://www.law.umn.edu/news/