Lightfoot's $3M affordable housing plan hits a snag

Posted9/11/2019 5:44 PM

Mayor Lori Lightfoot's $3 million plan to help chip away at Chicago's affordable housing crisis and prevent longtime residents from being priced out of homes in fast-growing neighborhoods hit a roadblock on Wednesday.

For the second straight day, aldermen complained that either they or their local neighborhood organizations had been kept in the dark about what the Lightfoot administration was up to.


Earlier this week, their complaint centered around the new mayor's eight appointments to boards overseeing so-called Special Service Areas. Those are local taxing districts where property owners agree to pay higher taxes in exchange for added security or beautification.

On Wednesday, the beef was Lightfoot's plan to create more affordable housing in gentrifying neighborhoods -- such as her own in Logan Square -- by forging a partnership with the Chicago Community Land Trust.

The idea is to use $3 million in fees paid by developers "in lieu" of building affordable housing on site to provide $30,000 loans -- forgivable if the owner remains there for five years -- to help local residents repair or renovate their homes.

The Trust would use some of the money to renovate properties and the rest to purchase vacant land and hold onto it until a developer can be identified.

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