CHICAGO – The Chicago Department of Housing (DOH) today unveiled a new, interactive, user-friendly tool – the Affordable Requirements Ordinance (ARO) Dashboard – to make affordable housing data more transparent and accessible to the public. The dashboard includes data never released to the public, such as ARO project statuses, and organizes the information geographically and visually to aid in assessments of the ordinance, one of the city’s key affordable housing resources.
“This new dashboard is another example of Mayor Lightfoot’s push for and commitment to transparency and accountability across City government,” DOH Commissioner Marisa Novara said. “We are bringing forward data that previously was not easily accessible or understandable and not in one place. The new dashboard informs about past projects, as well as provides information to help shape the future of affordable housing in Chicago.”
The dashboard will also assist and inform the work of the new Inclusionary Housing Task Force, which will convene in early December. Nearly 200 advocates, developers and other stakeholders have applied to join the Task Force, charged with examining the ordinance in its current form and recommend revisions that will improve this important tool for inclusion used in the creation and equitable distribution of affordable housing throughout the city of Chicago.
The ARO Dashboard will make the work of the Task Force easier with two datasets. The primary dataset covers unit production, including the number of units produced and proposed per community area, breakdowns of units by unit size and by the income level served (i.e., rental price), and project status information. Dashboard users can filter these breakdowns across the entire city, by community area, or by individual project.
The second dataset, the Affordable Housing Opportunity Fund (AHOF) lists the amount of in-lieu fees developers have paid by year and by community area. Expenditures from AHOF are also included, both geographically and by spending goal (such as affordable developments or rental subsidy programs).
“The new ARO Dashboard demonstrates the City of Chicago’s commitment to making information on implementation of the ARO more transparent,” said Jacky Grimshaw, Vice President Government Affairs, Center for Neighborhood Technology. “Creating the ARO dashboard can be an important tool in providing formerly hard to get information about not just where developments are occurring but also how in lieu fees are being collected and used.”
Geoff Smith, executive director of the Institute for Housing Studies at DePaul University, said, “Making this type of data publicly available in a user-friendly format is an important step in helping the public understand the impact of the City’s Affordable Requirements Ordinance and evaluate ways to improve its effectiveness.”
After watching a demonstration of the dashboard, Alden Loury, Senior Editor Race, Class and Communities, WBEZ, said, “This is a monumental step forward. Before we’d have to spend hours and hours, digging through pages and pages of paper. Kudos for getting this rolling.”
The Affordable Requirements Ordinance mandates residential development projects that receive financial assistance from the City, require a zoning change, or involve city-owned land reserve a percentage of housing units for low-income residents. The ARO has helped thousands of Chicagoans find an affordable place to live. Between 2005 and 2018, the ARO directly created more than 800 affordable units and generated nearly $94 million for the Affordable Housing Opportunity Fund, which helped preserve or create thousands of additional units. The ARO delivers affordable housing in some of the city’s most expensive areas, helping to reverse decades-old patters of segregation.
The new ARO Dashboard can be viewed by visiting: chicago.gov/ARO
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