The Chicago Department of Housing Reflects on 2021 Accomplishments

January 12, 2022


As the new year begins, the Chicago Department of Housing (DOH) is reflecting on key accomplishments the department implemented for Chicago residents over the course of 2021. Led by its commitment to expanding housing choice throughout all 77 communities and across all 50 wards for all Chicagoans, over the past year, the second of the global COVID-19 pandemic, DOH helped impacted residents remain safely housed with direct financial assistance, passed critical legislation to expand housing choice, legalized Additional Dwelling Units (ADUs), established anti-displacement measures in gentrifying communities, completed the country’s first Racial Equity Impact Assessment on low-income rental housing, and announced a historic investment of over $1 billion in affordable housing.

“During 2020, our COVID response and ensuring that residents were able to shelter safely in place took precedence. The pandemic, however, showed us how even more important home is for all, and we spent 2021 not only providing additional direct assistance to renters and landlords to ensure housing stability, but placed just as much focus on our mission of expanding access and choice for all,” said DOH Commissioner Marisa Novara. “Last year was an unprecedented year for DOH and the City, from announcing the largest announcement in affordable housing in our history, to legalizing Additional Dwelling Units after 60 years, a new Affordable Requirements Ordinance that targets those in greatest need of affordable rental housing, and our efforts to ensure equity and fairness in housing, 2021 allowed us to lay the groundwork to address decades of segregation and disinvestment in Chicago. Government has long been complicit in creating inequitable outcomes by race and class; as such, this is our work to do.”

2021 Accomplishments
Protection for renters

  • Passed an amendment to the Keep Chicago Renting Ordinance to protect renters and stabilize rental housing by keeping tenants in foreclosed buildings safely housed
  • Provided more than $80 million to renters and landlords financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) 
  • Opened a second round of applications for additional direct rent and utility assistance funded through $100 million from the American Recovery Plan Act

Increased housing and wealth-building opportunities 

  • Passed legislation legalizing Additional Dwelling Units (ADUs) in basements, attics, and coach houses in five pilot zones which had been illegal since 1957. The ADU Ordinance expands housing access across Chicago and provides for homeowners needing extra income, or those who wish to create separate spaces for multigenerational families 
  • Passed a new Affordable Requirements Ordinance (ARO) that expands off-site options that target Chicagoans in the greatest need for affordable rental housing, while also focusing on anti-displacement measures that allow long-time residents to remain in their communities and benefit from redevelopment. The revised ARO encourages affordable and family-sized units and increases the affordable requirement from 10% to 20%

Anti-Displacement Efforts 

  • Passed legislation to preserve existing affordable housing in Pilsen and the area surrounding the 606, both of which are rapidly gentrifying, via surcharges on demolition and restrictions against converting multi-unit buildings to single-family homes: the 606-Pilsen Demolition Permit Surcharge Ordinance and AntiDeconversion Ordinances for Pilsen and for the 606. The anti-deconversion and anti-displacement ordinances work together to preserve naturally occurring affordable rental housing in Pilsen and the area surrounding the 606 

Fair Housing and Racial Equity

  • Issued the country’s first Racial Equity Impact Assessment (REIA) on a Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP) for the allocation of Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LITHC), recommendations from which include increasing opportunities for developers and contractors of color to participate, ensuring applicants are not unfairly screened out by conviction records or credit scores and addressing residents’ mental health needs 
  • Issued the 2021 Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP) call for proposals for Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) that included recommendations from the Racial Equity Impact Assessment. DOH received 43 proposals to create/preserve affordable rental housing throughout the Chicago area 
  • With the Mayor’s Office, the Chicago Commission on Human Relations (CCHR), Enterprise Community Partners, Chicago Area Fair Housing Alliance (CAFHA), the Metropolitan Planning Council and six additional community partners, released the Blueprint for Fair Housing, a plan to address the City’s housing segregation, disparities in access to opportunity, and history of inequitable investment 

Direct Investments in Affordable Housing 

  • Passed legislation for the creation/preservation of more than 1,200 units of housing 
  • Announced the City’s largest investment ever in affordable housing totaling $1 billion. Thanks in part to the Chicago Recovery Plan, DOH funded 24 developments, more than double the number of projects selected during the 2019 round. The 24 developments are located in 20 different community areas and 75% are transitoriented. Of the 24 awardees, 14 are expected to close during 2022 with construction beginning shortly after

Healthy Homes 

  • Launched the Home Repair Program (HPR) formerly known as the Roof and Porch Program, expanded to address environmental health hazard remediation and small accessibility repairs or improvements in addition to roof and porch repairs/replacement 


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