CCH Statement: Mayor Lightfoot’s reform of the Affordable Requirements Ordinance falls short

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) stands in support of the Chicago Inclusionary Housing Ordinance put forth by many of our partners in the fight for affordable housing in Chicago. We are disappointed that Mayor Lightfoot’s alternative ordinance fell so far short of what was needed to stem gentrification and to begin to close the housing affordability gap. Chicago needs 120,000 more homes affordable to our city’s residents who are living on low wages and/or experiencing homelessness.  

What our city often calls affordable housing is only affordable to households earning considerably more than people experiencing homelessness in Chicago, and is out of reach for many Black and Latinx families. The Mayor’s ordinance continues to target housing to people living at 60% of Area Median Income (AMI), even though Black and Latinx Chicagoans have median household incomes of $27,713 and $40,700 respectively, which are 35-45% of the AMI. In addition, more family-sized units are needed, not just one-bedrooms. 

At a minimum we’d expect the Mayor’s ARO to require: 

  • A minimum of 20% of units in new developments set-aside as ARO units and rented at an average of 40% of AMI in high income neighborhoods. 
  • 30% of total ARO units must be 2+ bedrooms and 15% 3+ bedrooms (BRs). 
  • An intentional plan, meaning an official timeline to carry out a Nexus Study to implement a Universal Density/Linkage Fee (UDF). This will increase the number of onsite affordable units by reducing and eventually eliminating in-lieu of fees. 

With nearly 77,000 people in Chicago experiencing homelessness, we must require real affordability in new developments. We call on City Council and Mayor Lightfoot to put in place real reform and to collaborate with community residents on community-driven solutions.