“The Past, Present, and Future of Housing in Rockford”

On Sunday, February 26, 2017 Midway Village Museum hosted a community Forum “The Past, Present, and Future of Housing in Rockford”.

As the Rockford community works to become a top 25 community by 2025, it must transform itself into a place where people want to come and raise a family. “It is very important residents participate in these types of community events. We, and others, marketed the event prior to help spread the word. Resident input is very important, “stated Ron Clewer CEO of Rockford Housing Authority. “Many thanks to Midway Village for tackling these important community conversations.”

Crystal Matlock a community resident and forum participant states, “I think that the housing forum was necessary. I think we need more forums of this nature, housing is broad – housing means so many different things. There was discussion about affordable housing and fair housing, but housing is so much more than that, housing is safety for people in the community, it is stability in the community, and it is your neighbors – people taking care of people.”



In the forum Brad Roos captivatingly outlined that, as in many cities, Rockford has a long history of racially inequitable outcomes, traced the history of housing and where we are today in our community. “You look back in any community and how did we get on this precipice of racism and classism that we’re seeing play out all across America right now.  From the race and class perspective there are policy and infrastructure areas we need to deal with as a community that have really created divisions. Our river is an example, the east versus west, has been a delineator of poor versus wealthy, black versus white. The Whitman street interchange that was put in really was put in intentionally to keep the west from coming east. We look at other things in our communities like deed restrictions that were placed in neighborhoods so certain folks couldn’t live in those neighborhoods and that not only affected blacks, but Italians and Jews. We had these things as a matter of policy and process in our community that still are creating those same barriers today,” states Ron Clewer.


For those who are concerned about the troubled legacy of public housing there are resolutions. Across the United States communities are working on affirmative solutions to housing and the Rockford community is no exception. The challenge was and is fundamentally the same: to bridge the gap between wages and the high cost of quality housing.

Today Rockford Housing Authority supports a more balanced, forward-looking housing initiatives that acknowledge the importance of affordable rental housing and the role that various attributes of housing may play in promoting strong, resilient families and a vibrant community.

The RHA Strategic Plan outlines a course of action to be executed over time. It will harness the energy and creativity of the community and make a substantial and visible difference to the neighborhoods. Building a healthier neighborhood begins with planning and will be achieved through implementation and unified action.

The notion that affordable housing is an essential “platform” that promotes positive outcomes in education, employment, and physical health for our community is integrated in the mission of the strategic plan. “The Grove” is an example of this in our community.

“You often hear from people that don’t really have housing issues, issues of poverty or the struggle if you will, those are the people that usually attend forums like this and I think people need to be heard from that are suffering from the lack of proper housing, proper education, so that the community has a better understanding of the many dynamics – mental health, education, employment – that affect housing,” states Crystal Matlock a community resident in the Highlight Video Presentation of the Forum,” The Past, Present, and Future of Housing in Rockford.”

Past, Present and Future of Housing in Rockford – Community Forum: Highlight Presentation

The Past, Present and Future of Housing – Rockford Community Forum: Complete Presentation


*There is no statistically significant difference when comparing properties near a low-income housing project and those farther away when examining projects across all 20 metros.

Housing Has No Impact on Nearby Home Values: Learn more;

– See more at: https://www.trulia.com/blog/trends/low-income-housing