Monday, July 21, 2014

Two Uptown Aldermen On Task Force To Facilitate More Affordable Housing In Chicago

Ald. Pawar and Ald. Cappleman are members of a new Affordable Housing Task Force, the aim of which is to reform the city's existing Affordable Requirements Ordinance (ARO), which has created 187 units since 2007.  The goal of the new AHTF is to add 1000 new affordable housing units in "high growth areas with access to transit and jobs" within five years.

The Task Force will have 65 days to complete a public engagement process and issue a report with recommendations. Written comments and suggestions will be accepted through Aug. 11 at 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.

Alderman Ray Suarez, Vice Mayor and Chairman 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.

Other aldermen on the committee include Walter Burnett, Will Burns, Deborah Graham, Michelle Harris, Natashia Holmes, Deb Mell, Emma Mitts, Ariel Reboyras, and JoAnn Thompson.

The other members are: Curt Bailey, President, Related Midwest; Brian Bernardoni, Director of Governmental Affairs, Chicago, Illinois 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 – Housing, ONE Northside; 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; and Rev. Dr. Richard Tolliver, St. Edmund's Episcopal Church.

The press release mentions that this is part of the Mayor's Five Year Housing Plan to commit $1.3 billion in public and private funds to build, rehabilitate, or preserve 40,000 units of affordable housing within five years, including selling lots for $1 in Englewood and West Garfield Park to residents of those communities.


  1. I just have a few things to write and I expressed my opinion to the panel via email.
    1) The City should promote cooperative housing as a supplement to affordable housing.
    2) $1200 for a one-bedroom in any neighborhood is not affordable IMO. And what I see happening is a lot of "luxury" apartments being built with a steep price tag ($1400, even $2000 for a one bedroom).

    is there any wonder that younger folk are moving back home with family? They can't afford the rents.

    1. Lianna, could you explain a little bit what the benefits of cooperative are compared to affordable housing? I'm pretty interested in this topic and I've never seen co-ops suggested.

    2. Lianna, occupancy rates are at an all time high in the Chicago metro area because demand far exceeds supply, so if you are lucky enough to find a one bedroom apt for $1200 that is located anywhere other than the ghetto, I suggest jumping on it.

    3. The co-op idea has been explored. The building at Wilson Yard was developed as "affordable" using TIF funds with an option to become a co-op after a period of time (10 or 15 years, I believe). I also think this was an option exercised at 4848 Winthrop, but could be wrong.
      Co-ops are very difficult to establish and maintain. The ownership is measured differently and it's hard to get back loans and other types of financing. They are very rare in Chicago and even in New York where they are established there aren't new ones being built as far as I know, just condos.

  2. Lianna,

    It is not the city's job to supplement your apartment. If you can't afford the neighborhood, move. It is how the free market works. This 1.3 Billion allotment would be much more palatable if it were reallocated to the CPS.

    1. Agreed. When did America become the United Socialist State of Repulsion. This money needs to go to Police, Fire, Schools and Education! Oh, and how about our crumbling roads and bridges?

  3. " When did America become the United Socialist State of Repulsion."

    It became that sometime in the 1930s, when housing projects for the poor, and government-backed low-interest, low-down payment 30 year loans (VA and FHA) were hatched by the New Deal brain trust. That's also when the GSEs like Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were formed- the government-chartered "private for-profit" concerns that back most of the "private" mortgages written and without which there would likely be no such thing as a 30 year fixed mortgage. Then, under Nixon in the 70s, we got the Section 8 program, which subsidizes rentals for "the poor" and has been one of many factors in inflating rents in our cities.

    Socialized housing ruined our cities and promoted suburban sprawl in the 50s by FHA "redlining" of perfectly stable city neighborhoods, while providing 5% down (FHA) and 0 down (VA) loans to buyers of new ticky tacky shanties in the suburbs.

    It has also greatly inflated the cost of housing, as easy government-backed mortgages and low interest rates drive up the prices of all property, out of proportion to the incomes of likely buyers and renters.

    And, of course, government-sponsored housing ALL costs much more to build. Look no further than the $400,000-plus cost per unit of the Wilson Yards affordable apartments- tiny, charmless little places built at a time, 2009-2011, when hundreds of condos in Uptown were being dumped on the market for less than $100K.

    Get rid of all the socialistic crap, including the home mortgage interest deduction, that has been promulgated over the past 80 years to help the "poor" be housed and to help the middle class become "owners", and there would be no need for "affordable" housing- prices on owner occupied and rental properties alike would drop and stabilize at levels dictated by the incomes and non-government-assisted purchasing power of the likely buyers and occupants.

  4. If you really want to get a headache check this out.

    While there's a need for low income housing there's always the 'scam' where the rich and connected do very well. The owners of the south loop building did really well in this.

    I refuse to hyperlink. I will go back to watching documentaries until this horrid 88.3 degree heat passes. I'm a cool weather pirate. Given my distant Scandinavian heritage perhaps I have some Greenland eskimo in my genetic tree. I could use an Eskimo Pie right now, but walking to Mariano's and dealing with the Sunday crowd does not appeal to me.

    Woe unto me!

    1. The super-vouchers don't surprise me. Actually, voucher tenants have been renting in high-end buildings since the inception of the Section 8 program in the early seventies, and in fact, one of the first buildings in my native city (St Louis) to admit voucher tenants was a very elegant old building whose apartments had 5 bedrooms 3 large baths, 12' ceilings, walnut-paneled libraries, keyed elevator stops, and freight elevators that opened directly into the units' kitchens, among other amenities. The building was very upper-class, but the Section 8 program played to the greed of landlords and permitted the ownership to collect far more than market rent, while the tenants payed nearly nothing for units most middle class people couldn't get near. Here in Chicago, Presidential Towers has always had Section 8 occupants.

      The allowable rent is based on the family size and the "average" rent for a given size apt in the area. That average is skewed rather high in Chicago thanks to the high-end neighborhoods with their outrageous rents on the near north side, so you see a voucher recipient being charged $1400 a month for a slummy 3 bed that would be lucky to fetch $500 if left to the market.

      There's nothing "fair" about the program and never was, and it has not improved living conditions for most of the "poor" beyond a few lucky lottery winners who win the prize of a high end rental.