CHA Bond Rating Affirmed by Standard & Poor’s; Outlook is Stable

Dec 3, 2019

Press contacts:
Office of Communications – Chicago Housing Authority
Molly Sullivan: (312) 786-3344;
Matthew Aguilar: (312) 935-2646;

CHICAGO - (Dec. 3, 2019) The Chicago Housing Authority announced today that its institutional credit bond rating of AA- and its stable outlook has been affirmed by Standard & Poor’s (S&P) Global Ratings.

The affirmation extends to CHA’s 2010 taxable revenue bonds (Build America Bonds) as well as its 2018 General Obligation taxable and tax-exempt bond series.

Among the factors S&P cited in affirming the bond rating and outlook were:

  • Extremely strong management evidenced by successfully executing its mission and leveraging innovative partnerships and resources in Chicago
  • CHA’s Moving to Work (MTW) designation, which allows for financial and operational flexibility through the combination of public housing operating and capital funds and housing choice voucher funds
  • Improved asset quality supported by a strong development arm that continues to maximize resources for public housing redevelopment, as well as for the development of mixed-finance housing, and impressive renovation through rental assistance demonstration (RAD) conversion

“I am pleased that Standard & Poor’s recognizes the hard work and commitment CHA has demonstrated as it carries out its mission to support the creation and rehabilitation of affordable housing for low-income Chicagoans,” said Acting CHA CEO James L. Bebley.

As a result of the rating strength, CHA has lower borrowing costs. According to S&P, a AA rating indicates that the capacity to meet financial commitments on bond obligations is “very strong.”

As the second largest housing authority in the nation, CHA serves over 63,000 households. The AA- rating is the second highest given to any U.S. public housing authority and puts CHA in the top 10% of global social housing providers rated by S&P.

S&P noted CHA’s clearly-defined vision that sets forth the organization's overall mission that enables the Authority to:

  • Increase housing choices for low-income families;
  • Provide incentives to families with children where the head of household is either working, seeking work, or preparing for work by participating in job training, educational programs, or programs designed to help individuals obtain employment and become economically self-sufficient; and
  • Reduce costs and achieve greater cost-effectiveness in federal expenditures.

Additionally, the report said CHA’s strategic planning “has played a critical role in CHA's ability to expand its unit count in most years and establish itself as Chicago's pre-eminent affordable housing developer.”

Additionally, S&P cited the recent appointments of Bebley as Acting CEO and Angela Hurlock as Chairperson of the Board of Commissioners as significant, noting Bebley’s 30-plus years of legal experience in the private and public sector and his role as Trustee and Secretary to the Chicago Housing Authority Employees’ Retirement Plan and Trust and Hurlock’s role as Executive Director of Claretian Associates, a community development corporation that serves 3,000 families a year. The report also noted CHA’s senior management team has significant affordable housing expertise.