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Mayor appoints Affordable Housing Task Force

Tue, Aug 5, 2014

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Ald. Ray Suarez (31st ward) have announced the establishment of an Affordable Housing Task Force consisting of community leaders, aldermen and developers to make recommendations on reform of the City’s Affordable Requirements Ordinance (ARO).

“I am committed to ensuring that growth in the City’s residential housing stock leaves no one behind,” Mayor Emanuel said July 20. “By reforming our housing laws and programs we can leverage our growing residential housing sector to create more affordable housing options across the City, especially in high-growth neighborhoods with access to jobs and transit.”
The Mayor also asked that the Task Force provide recommendations within 65 days for reforming the ARO to spur development of 1000 new affordable housing units over the next five years, a fivefold increase over the 187 units created by the ARO since 2007.

Ald. Suarez, who is vice mayor and chair of the City Council Committee on Housing & Real Estate, will oversee the process for the Task Force’s work. Task Force meetings will be co-chaired by Joy Aruguete, executive director of Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation; Jack Markowski, president at Community Investment Corporation; and Craig Huffman, managing director of Ascendance Partners.

Committee members include: Curt Bailey, president, Related Midwest ; Brian Bernardoni, director of governmental affairs, Chicago Association of Realtors ; Alan Lev, president/CEO Belgravia Group and past president of Homebuilders Association of Greater Chicago ; Adam Gross, director of affordable housing, Business and Professional People in the Public Interest (BPI) ; Calvin Holmes, president, Chicago Community Loan Fund; Jonathan Jones, business representative, Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters Local 10; Rafael Leon, executive director, Chicago Metropolitan Housing Development Corporation; Mary Lynch-Dungy, community organizer, ONE Northside (housing); Eithne McMenamin, associate director of policy, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless; Shirley Newsome, Board Chair, Quad Communities Development Corp; Guacolda Reyes, vice president of real estate development, The Resurrection Project; Rev. Dr. Richard Tolliver, St. Edmund’s Episcopal Church; Ald. Walter Burnett, (27th Ward); Ald. Will Burns, (4th Ward); Ald. James Cappleman, (46th Ward); Ald. Deborah Graham, (29th Ward); Ald. Michelle Harris, (8th Ward); Ald. Natashia Holmes, (7th Ward); Ald. Deb Mell, (33th Ward); Ald. Emma Mitts, (37th Ward); Ald. Ameya Pawar, (47th Ward); Ald. Ariel Reboyras, (30th Ward); Ald. JoAnn Thompson, (16th Ward)

The current ARO applies to projects with 10 or more units. Projects that receive financial assistance from the City must include 20 percent of the units as affordable. Projects that include City land or a zoning change to increase allowable floor area must include 10 percent affordable units. Developers can choose to pay an in- lieu fee of $100,000 per required affordable unit into an Affordable Housing Opportunity Fund, which provides operating support for the Chicago Low-Income Housing Trust Fund, a not-for-profit that provides rental subsidies to very-low-income households.

For-sale units must be affordable for households earning up to 100 percent of Area Median Income (AMI), which is $50,700 for one person and graduated according to household size. Most for-sale units are administered through the Chicago Community Land Trust, which maintains affordability in perpetuity. Rental units must be affordable for 30 years for households earning up to 60 percent of AMI.

The Mayor’s Five-Year Housing Plan commits $1.3 billion in public and private funds to build, rehabilitate, or preserve 40,000 units of affordable housing within five years. Mayor Emanuel, Attorney General Lisa Madigan, and Jack Markowski of Community Investment Corporation (CIC) previously announced the launch of a $26 million loan pool to make financing available to rehab and preserve groups of one- to four-unit buildings as affordable rental housing.

Written comments and suggestions will be accepted through Aug. 11 at ARO@cityofchicago.org or via mail to ARO Advisory Panel, 121 N. LaSalle, 10th floor; Chicago, IL 60602. The City expects to introduce an updated ARO Ordinance to City Council this fall.

Suzanne Hanney
StreetWise Editor-In-Chief

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