New Ill. law means more low (and not so low) income housing

In this audio piece, housing specialists and others talk about how the creation of low-income housing in Chicago is tied to higher-income apartments.

On July 29, Gov. JB Pritzker signed into law Public Act 102-0175, which aims to boost affordable housing statewide.

The measure creates and extends tax credits for housing developers that keep a minimum percentage of a new or rehabbed building's residential units affordable for people of low income.

Among other things, the law compels Cook County to cut a qualifying building's future property assessments by as much as 35 percent—which would result in lower property taxes. It's expected this will give private developers an economic incentive to put and keep low-income units in their new developments.

The law's boost in housing for low-income Chicagoans could also mean more housing for people with not so low incomes—because most privately-developed buildings in Chicago include "market rate" apartments: units available at the prevailing monthly rental prices.

Some believe that multi-unit buildings with low-income apartments are doomed to fail if they don't include market rate units. Why? Responding to this idea are:

  • John McDermott, a long-time housing and community development consultant and activist in Chicago
  • Dr Robert Chaskin, co-author of Integrating the Inner City: The Promise and Perils of Mixed-Income Public Housing Transformation
  • Dr Rachel Kleit, professor of City and Regional Planning of the Knowlton School of Architecture at Ohio State University

Find excerpts of their comments in the standard episode, and the full story in the premium episode.

Length 2.5 minutes standard, 12.5 minutes premium.

Music: "Hands Up" by Analog By Nature
Copyright 2012. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license.

Standard audio:

Premium audio:

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Episode Transcript

This is a story of how a boost in housing for low-income Chicagoans also means more housing for people with not so low incomes. I'm Dave Glowacz. We'll start the story on July 29, when IL Governor JB Pritzker signed a law that expands funding for new residential developments that contain low-income housing.

Pritzker: We're also extending, for another five years, the IL affordable housing tax credit, that encourages private investment in AH. In addition to that, this legislation creates a county-led special assessment program, across all of our counties, for new properties to provide another incentive for affordable housing development.

Transcript continues below.

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