The Columbia Housing Center is modeled after the Oak Park Regional Housing Center. Oak Park’s Housing Center has been successfully serving their Chicago-area community for more than 40 years. Faced with rapid racial change, residents of Oak Park created the Housing Center to cultivate Oak Park as a stable, integrated community. It was an almost entirely white community at that time and today, it is diverse and, more importantly, integrated. Their housing model has been remarkably successful: at least two-thirds of people who go to the Oak Park Regional Housing Center end up making moves that improve the integration of their community.
Oak Park has sustained higher property values as compared to its less integrated neighboring communities, and the Housing Center has enjoyed steady municipal support from its founding to today – a testament to the impact of this proactive approach.
Columbia uses a similar model to work intentionally to make our whole community integrated – as James Rouse intended, with residents choosing to move to new homes that suit their needs and also further the racial and ethnic integration of Columbia.