Teaching Case - Seeking Sustainability: Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago Faces Financial Challenge

Seeking Sustainability: Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago Faces Financial Challenge


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  • Product Description

    Nearly 30 years after it was first incorporated to help stabilize and improve older, declining parts of the city, Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS) of Chicago had become among the best-known and most-respected organizations of its kind. Its combination of low-interest lending to homebuyers and home renovators, as well as its neighborhood improvement efforts, had won it credit for helping to maintain or revive parts of Chicago during a time when the city was losing population and private financial institutions were loathe to make conventional loans in its poorer neighborhoods. But, in the late 1990s, NHS Chicago finds it is facing a struggle to survive. Poorer neighborhoods, long-starved of credit, find themselves flooded by lending offers from a new generation of so-called "subprime" lenders. NHS efforts to improve the nine Chicago neighborhoods in which it has offices are threatened both by mortgage foreclosures which result from such high-interest loans, and by a decline in NHS Chicago's own lending business, which has difficulty competing with well-advertised "subprimes." This case raises the question of what strategy NHS Chicago, under pressure from a major foundation which had historically helped support it, should adopt to right itself financially and whether and how it should continue the mission for which it was founded. Case discussion may include both an examination of data-including trends in its revenues and expenses--and of prospective long-term organizational strategies.

    Learning Objective:
    In addition to allowing for discussion of the specific dilemmas faced in Hong Kong, the case can be a point of departure for a more general discussion about the variety of imaginable relationships between the public and nonprofit sectors and how such arrangements are, as a practical matter, effected.

  • Other Details

    Publication Date: August 01, 2002
    HKS Case Number: 1659.0
    Case Author: Howard Husock
    Faculty Lead: Christine Letts and William Apgar
    Pages (incl. exhibits): 24
    Setting: United States
    Language: English
    Funding Source: Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation
    _year: 2000-2009
    _pages: 16-25
    _geography: US & Canada
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