An amended TIF Vacant Building Rehab Ordinance passes City Council, along with first $1 million in funding

CCH and our nine partners in the Sweet Home Chicago Coalition are delighted that the Chicago City Council has enacted the amended TIF Vacant Building Rehab ordinance.

Along with the amended ordinance approved July 25, the first $1 million for housing rehab projects was allocated in the Ogden/ Pulaski tax-increment financing (TIF) district on the city’s West Side. We continue to work with the city’s Department of Housing and Economic Development to expand the ordinance to other TIFs districts around the city. 

The ordinance allows developers to receive up to 50% of the cost of purchasing and rehabbing a vacant or foreclosed property from TIF funds for the purpose of creating affordable rental housing. The rental housing must be accessible for families making about $37,000 a year and less. Usually, when the city creates “affordable” housing with TIF funds, a family has to be earning at least $45,000 a year, so this is a solid step towards creating more housing that is truly affordable for low-income and working households.

The original ordinance passed in May 2011. The Sweet Home coalition has spent the past year working with the city to write rules for the ordinance and amending it to make it as accessible and practical as possible for both developers and renters.

The amendments that we worked with the city to make will be critical to the success of the ordinance. A couple key amendments are:

  • The ability to bundle several smaller buildings (two- to four-flats) into a larger development that could be rehabbed for rental housing. Much of the vacant, foreclosed housing stock in Chicago are smaller buildings. This amendment makes the ordinance as flexible as possible for developers to create rental housing with larger and smaller properties.
  • The Department of Housing and Economic Development, at its discretion and in consultation with local aldermen, can fund projects with a TIF subsidy that is greater than 50% of project cost. Criteria for consideration of the higher subsidy include developments that include supportive housing and/or housing for extremely low-income households.
– Eithne McMenamin, Associate Policy Director, City Affairs