‘Sweet Home Chicago’ affordable housing ordinance passes

Affordable housing ordinance passes

May 4, 2011

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In one of his final legislative acts, Mayor Richard Daley compromised with the Chicago City Council on an ordinance to fund affordable housing.

It took nearly two years of stalling, back and forth negotiations and political maneuvering.

But now some tax money is available to developers to buy and rehab vacant Chicago homes or apartment rentals. The money comes from a pot known as tax increment financing – or TIFS.

Ald. Walter Burnett worked with the neighborhood coalition known as Sweet Home Chicago to get the measure passed. Advocates see it as a way to mitigate the foreclosure crisis.

"People need some relief and they need some help. And this is a good step in the right direction. We pray that the next administration -- that it won’t take as long or be as hard," Burnett said.

The ordinance allows developers to receive up to 50 percent of the cost of purchase and rehab of multi-family rental buildings if more than half of the units go toward affordable housing – families earning no more than half of the area median income.

Sweet Home Chicago originally wanted a mandated percentage of TIF dollars to go toward affordable housing.

But activists said they are pleased with this compromise.