Chicago affordable housing program has failed, report finds

Developers have built just 1K affordable homes in a dozen years despite ordinance mandate

Mayor Lori Lightfoot (Getty; iStock)
Mayor Lori Lightfoot (Getty; iStock)

Chicago’s affordable housing program has failed.

That was the takeaway from a citywide task force formed by Mayor Lori Lightfoot, which determined that an ordinance requiring developers to build more housing for low- and moderate-income households has created just 1,000 homes in 13 years, according to WTTW News. Meanwhile, the city’s affordable housing shortfall has surged to nearly 120,000 homes.

The ordinance requires developers to designate between 10 and 20 percent of new residential units as affordable. The current ordinance says units are considered affordable if households are earning about 60 percent of area median income.

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The task force is now recommending the ordinance be revised so housing is set aside for households making far less than 60 percent of area median income, about $54,600 for a family of four, according to the report.

Chicago faces a massive budget crisis in part due to the impacts of the coronavirus, which will make it unlikely any of the task force recommendations will move forward soon.

Lightfoot has said city taxes collected from Covid-affected businesses plummeted, including in the retail, hotel and restaurant industries.

The city has a $1.2 billion budget shortfall in 2021, meaning the city will have a difficult time bolstering its affordable housing program. [WTTW] — Keith Larsen