Chicago’s Lightfoot seeks $69M more for affordable housing

Mayor submitted plans for multiple projects across city

Mayor Lori Lightfoot with a rendering of a proposed development by Austin United Alliance (Austin United Alliance, Getty, iStock)
Mayor Lori Lightfoot with a rendering of a proposed development by Austin United Alliance (Austin United Alliance, Getty, iStock)

Chicago’s mayor wants the city to spend even more money on affordable housing.

Lori Lightfoot submitted multiple proposals to the city council to spend $69 million on affordable housing developments, the Chicago Business Journal reported. If approved, the projects will be partly funded by bond sales and would come on top of $1 billion the city has already approved.

The newest proposals include a building on the South Side in Auburn Gresham, a new United Alliance on the West Side in Austin and a new building on the North Side in Uptown.

The South Side project is a $43 million, 58-unit building that would receive about $6 million from the city. The 76-unit Austin United Alliance will cost $37.5 million and, with 53 affordable units, would qualify for as much as $15 million in revenue bonds from the city. The North Side project is a $15 million 28-unit development that would receive $3.5 million from the city.

The mayor’s proposals also aim to preserve existing developments. The 272-unit Barbara Jean Wright Apartments, at 1354 South Morgan Street, near the University of Illinois-Chicago campus, could receive up to $45 million in Multi-Family Housing Loan funds for the city to buy and rehabilitate.

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Local nonprofit Preservation of Affordable Housing is in the process of buying residential properties near the Obama Presidential Center in an effort to prevent gentrification and preserve housing for longtime residents. The group said it was “open to opportunities to buy more apartment buildings for the purpose of keeping them affordable.”

Despite the city’s need for more affordable housing, the Chicago Housing Authority decided to lease land it owns on the Near West Side to the Chicago Fire Football Club instead of replacing a public apartment complex. CFFC is a Major League Soccer franchise owned by one of the city’s most influential businesspeople, billionaire Morningstar founder Joe Mansueto.

The decision angered many housing advocates, as more than 30,000 people remain on the CHA waiting lists for vouchers or placement in affordable housing.

Read more

Joe Mansueto and the Chicago Housing Authority owned land at Roosevelt Road and Ashland Avenue (Getty, Chicago Fire FC, Google Maps)
CHA land goes to billionaire’s pro soccer team, despite housing shortage

[CBJ] — Victoria Pruitt

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