Chicago passes Airbnb ordinance, first-time funding stream for homeless services

By a vote of 43-7, Chicago’s City Council passed an ordinance June 22 that regulates Airbnb and other home-sharing services. The ordinance regulates short-term home rentals by requiring registration, licensing, and data sharing.

The new ordinance includes a 4% surcharge dedicated to funding supportive services and housing for homeless families as well as people who have been chronically homeless. The surcharge is expected to generate about $2 million a year. 

“This is the first time Chicago dedicated a funding stream to programs serving homeless families. It is another step forward for our HomeWorks campaign, which advocates more housing and school resources for our city’s homeless families,” said Policy Director Julie Dworkin.

CCH and HomeWorks campaign partners worked closely with Mayor Emanuel’s office and aldermen as they crafted language in the ordinance to ensure that the funding must go to assist homeless households. The service dollars generated by the surcharge will allow HomeWorks to secure more permanent supportive housing units dedicated for families. This comes at a time when there are available rental subsidies, but the accompanying service dollars are very scarce. We met with a dozen aldermen to raise awareness and secure their support for inclusion of the 4% surcharge.

HomeWorks partners that worked for the ordinance were Beacon Therapeutic, Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH), Heartland Alliance, La Casa Norte, Primo Center for Women and Children, and Unity Parenting and Counseling Center.