by Don Washington on 2011/05/16
As of Wednesday, May 4th, a developer can receive TIF assistance for 30, 40 or 50% of the purchase and rehab cost of a vacant multi-unit rental building as long as 30, 40 or 50% of the units become affordable to families making no more than 50% of AMI, or about $37,000/year for a family of four. Additionally, homebuyers making no more than 120% of AMI can receive TIF assistance for up to 25% of the cost of purchase and rehab of a vacant owner-occupied building of 4 units or less.
The Policy Geek to English translation is that private developers will be creating more affordable housing and the legendarily arcane TIF creation process is about to get a whole lot more transparent. To get some sense of how monumental this victory is for the people of Chicago if it had been in place at the start of the TIF regime it could have been an estimated $99 million dollars in affordable housing. Hell, that kind of money might have made the nightmarishly bad CHA Plan for Transformation look like it was working and that’s saying something.
You’ve probably never heard of the Sweet Home Chicago Coalition and that’s not your fault. Here’s the last time the Chicago Tribune bothered to tell you anything about them. That’s right, January... a major piece of public policy and these people can’t be bothered to cover it. What you should also know is that this victory is by no means the end of the issue… Pay attention:
56.2% of Chicago households are renters and to afford to live in Chicago you must make $13.67/hr. or work 106 hours a week. WAL-MART will not be paying that and since that is apparently our answer to both food deserts and employment here in Chicago this ordinance is just in time.
4 out of 5 TANF recipients do not live in subsidized housing. These households are at risk of losing housing if there is a disruption in support or income. The money a TANF families receives is an embarrassment to a civilized society. As far back as 2001 it was obvious that Bill Clinton had decided we no longer cared about the poor. Now we hear about programs to save the middle class. If history tells us anything the middle class is on the glide path to extinction.
We are short at least 153,000 units of rental housing affordable to households with income up to $20,000.
If these stats sound both dire and surprising to you that’s because our media is so bad at what it does it possibly didn’t know this victory happened. That would be the good outcome. You can fix ignorance but what IF it’s because affordable housing impacts poor working “people”. I use the quotations because to most of the media; the working poor and really poor don’t count and neither does public policy. Nope, these geniuses are out covering the antics of the powerful they just didn’t and still don’t care about this kind of thing. Instead the media was transfixed on Mayor Daley’s last City Council meeting. Which by the way; was one of the most disturbing examples of polite bald-faced lying and history re-writes in the history of hypocrisy.
Hats off to the Sweet Home Chicago Coalition, (Action NOW, Albany Park Neighborhood Council, Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, Jane Addams Senior Caucus, Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, Lakeview Action Coalition, Logan Square Neighborhood Association, Organization of the NorthEast, Service Employees International Union (SEIU)-Healthcare Illinois/Indiana, SEIU Local 1, and United Food and Commercial Workers Local 881.) may the wings of Lady Liberty never lose a feather.