Chances are, if you’re at all 1) a Chicagoan and 2) involved in local politics, you’ve heard of TIFs (Tax Incremental Financing). You also know that TIFs are a form of tax that are supposed to be diverted to help blighted communities (such as Lawndale) garner business interests and stay together. Of course, they’re not being used for that purpose. They’re largely being used to court big businesses that least need the incentives.
Each year the city would dedicate 20 percent of TIF funds collected towards affordable housing. If this were in effect in 2009, $99 million would have gone towards housing.
Developments would qualify to receive funds if 50 percent of the units were affordable to households earning less than $37,000 for a family of four. In addition, citywide, 40 percent of the units created each with the dedicated funds must serve households earning less than $22,600 a year for a family of four.
For housing that is for sale, units would have to be affordable to families of four earning less than $60,300.
The ability to pay rent and stay housed comes before any other need of a community. If TIF (tax increment financing) dollars are meant to build and support blighted communities, there is surely no greater way for Chicago to use them than on affordable housing.
Affordable housing needs to be a priority. It is the long-term sort of investment that is too often overlooked for short-sighted, quick infusions of cash that don’t sustain communities. We agree with other housing advocates and organizations that the language of the Sweet Home Chicago bill can ensure planning flexibility while still prioritizing affordable housing.
Please don’t let this opportunity to ensure a place to live for Chicago’s neediest citizens pass by.
This petition is to let the Mayor and Councilmen of Chicago know that, as negotiations on the bill move forward, the provision of affordable housing must remain a priority.