• Scott Waguespack

Housing Committee of City Council - Hearing on amended Affordable Housing Ordinance

Mayor Lightfoot and her Dept. of Housing staff worked with aldermen to introduce the revised Affordable Requirements Ordinance to City Council in March 2021. The revised ARO expands off-site options for those in great need of affordable rental housing, and focuses on anti-displacement measures. The ordinance will create more affordable and family-sized units, while funding programs like the Low Income Housing Trust Fund. This is a needed amendment to the ARO, and it will be voted on in our Committee on Housing and Real Estate next week with expected passage in the full City Council. The amended version of the ARO increases the affordable requirement downtown, in certain neighborhoods with low current levels of affordable housing, and in neighborhoods facing displacement of low-income residents from 10% to 20%. It also reduces the number of units that may be paid out with in-lieu fees from 75% to 50%.


Additional amendments include: - Allow off-site units to be built in any part of the city lacking in affordable housing or threatened with displacement - Require that if the triggering development is in a transit-oriented development (TOD) zone the off-site units must also be in a TOD zone - Add mandates/incentives for developers to create family-sized affordable units - Increase accessibility standards and preferential leasing for tenants who need an accessible unit - Require income averaging at 60% and 50% area median income (AMI) tiers to accommodate more low-income earners - Add 100% AMI tier when matched with subsidies for the lowest-income earners The new ordinance makes significant and necessary changes to the ARO. At the same time, Mayor Lightfoot announced the release of the “Blueprint for Fair Housing,” a plan to address the City’s housing segregation, disparities in access to opportunity, and history of inequitable investment. The plan is open for public comment at this link. The Blueprint includes specific plans to mitigate and eliminate barriers to fair housing. The assessment outlines eight goals and complementary strategies that will focus on Chicago’s most residentially segregated communities and provide direction on how the City will work to address those forces that both drive and exacerbate Chicago’s racial divides. This includes wealth and public health factors that influence a community’s access to opportunity, employment, quality education, transportation, and other essential services. The Blueprint for Fair Housing identifies the following eight goals the City and the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) will take over the next five years to further fair housing goals and make Chicago more equitable: Increase and preserve affordable, accessible housing options Prevent involuntary displacement and stabilize neighborhoods Increase opportunities and community integration for people with disabilities Address the segregation of opportunity and related inequitable distribution of resources Enhance housing policies and programs to increase fair housing choice Expand fair housing outreach, education and enforcement Preserve existing and expand affordable homeownership Ensure that internal policies and practices advance equity and address history of structural racism

Blueprint Available Here.