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Mixed Use for Mallinckrodt Receives
Housing Justice Award

Mixed Use for Mallinckrodt (MUM), a Wilmette citizens advocacy group, was awarded a Golden Trowel Award from the Statewide Housing Action Coalition (SHAC) at its annual convention in Springfield, Illinois on November 17th. MUM coalesced in October 2001 to advocate for affordable housing at the historic Mallinckrodt school building in Wilmette when Loyola University announced it would be selling the entire 17-acre campus.

Jean Cleland, Mimi Ryan, and Gail Schechter accepted the award on behalf of MUM, which honors MUM’s “grassroots affordable housing organizing in Wilmette.” MUM is propelled by Wilmette residents of all ages, families with members who have disabilities, current and former Village officials, and a Wilmette clergy person. While the not-for-profit Interfaith Housing Center of the Northern Suburbs has provided some housing data and guidance as needed, residents created MUM as a “moral imperative” to reuse the historic building to address the “clear shortage of housing for lower-income seniors, younger families, singles who grew up in Wilmette, folks that work here and others,” in Ryan’s and Cleland’s words.

While the final plan includes units that are not as affordable as MUM proposed, nor will there be a mix of age groups and abilities, MUM has been successful in raising the profile of the affordable housing issue in Wilmette. In fact, the Village Board recently budgeted $10,000 in the 2004 budget for the development of an affordable housing plan. According to the 2000 Census for Wilmette, 730 senior households ages 65 and over, or 25% of this population, earn under $35,000. 137 children age 18 and under live below the poverty level, a 44% increase since 1990. 10,410 of Wilmette’s 12,371 workers, or 84%, commute from outside the Village.

MUM’s greatest success may be its own existence - a diverse cross-section of the community proving that even in mostly affluent areas, people are saying “Yes, In My Backyard.”

SHAC is a coalition of organizations from throughout the state of Illinois who are committed to increasing and preserving the supply of decent, affordable, and accessible housing for low- and moderate-income households. SHAC values housing as a basic human right, and believes that public policy and government spending should ensure that the basic needs of all people are met.

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