Illinois Article

Lightfoot’s Plan to Protect Affordable Housing with $3M Fund Advances

Lightfoot’s Plan to Protect Affordable Housing with $3M Fund Advances

Heather Cherone with WTTW reports on Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s new plan to protect affordable housing from the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Emergency Relief for Affordable Multifamily Properties program is designed to protect affordable housing in Chicago, Marisa Novara, the commissioner of the Department of Housing, told the members of the City Council’s Housing and Real Estate Committee.

“We all know that we don’t have enough” affordable housing now, and it would be catastrophic if the economic crisis exacerbates the shortfall, estimated at more than 120,000 units before the pandemic hit, Novara said.

The full City Council is expected to consider the measure May 20. Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th Ward) cast the lone dissenting vote against the measure after questioning whether it would get to the heart of the issue facing Chicago’s working-class residents.

The $3 million would come from the city’s Affordable Housing Opportunity Fund, which is fueled by the fees paid by developers under the Affordable Requirements Ordinance. The grants — or no-interest loans with deferred payments — are expected to help 40 affordable housing complexes with approximately 80 units each. Complexes could get grants or loans of no more than $75,000 each.

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