Woodlawn Affordable Housing Preservation Ordinance

The draft Woodlawn Housing Preservation Ordinance from the Department of Housing and Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot has five main goals:

  • Help protect existing residents from displacement
  • Create new rental and for-sale housing opportunities that are affordable to households at a range of incomes
  • Ensure that existing housing stock offers good quality housing for residents
  • Promote housing options to support equitable and inclusive income diversity in Woodlawn
  • Support economic development opportunities

The draft ordinance mandates affordability requirements on all rental and for-sale housing developed on City-owned residential land. It also appropriates roughly $4.5 million — and leverages another $5 million in loan funds — to various programs that will assist with rehabilitation of existing affordable housing.

Finally, it creates a Right of First Refusal Pilot Program in the neighborhood that would require an owner of a building with 10 or more units to give tenants an exclusive opportunity to make an offer on the property prior to its sale.

The proposed ordinance is available for review now, as is an ordinance summary and a letter from Mayor Lightfoot to the Woodlawn community. Public comment on the proposed ordinance will be accepted through Monday, March 9 at DOH@cityofchicago.org.


Ordinance Guide

The ordinance includes 11 key sections detailing nearly $10 million in funding for each new program to accomplish the above goals. The below summary can act as a useful guide in reviewing the ordinance.

  • Section 1 states the name of the ordinance as the Woodlawn Housing Preservation Ordinance.
  • Sections 2 and 3 allow the Disposition of City-owned Land in Woodlawn for the Development of Homeownership and Rental Units. These sections detail the specific affordability requirements for buildings of various sizes and unit counts.
  • Section 4 provides details regarding Community Economic Development. It identifies Neighborhood Developer Preferences and Hiring of Local Residents on City owned vacant land. This section also states that there will be a competitive selection process for use of City-owned land.
  • Section 5 states that any development on City land shall follow design guidelines and should be in accordance with community area plans and other rules established by relevant City departments.
  • Section 6 appropriates $1.5 million for the Preservation of Existing Affordable Rental (PEAR) This is an apartment building refinance program to help existing owners refinance their property to keep tenants in place and rents affordable.
  • Section 7 appropriates $500,000 for Renew Woodlawn. This is a homeownership program tailored for low to moderate income households. Note: these City funds will be paired with funds from partners to expand the impact.
  • Section 8 appropriates $1.52 million for the Woodlawn Loan Fund to supplement $5 Million from banks and other lenders. This is a program to purchase and rehabilitate vacant units to create new affordable housing options.
  • Section 9 appropriates $1 million for the Woodlawn Long-term Homeowner Home Improvement Grant Program. The program will assist homeowners with ten or more years of residency in their home with a grant of up to $15,000 for home repairs.
  • Section 10 provides details regarding the Tenant Right of First Refusal Pilot. This component requires an owner of a building with ten or more units to notify tenants 30 days before listing the property for sale. It then allows a 90-day window for tenants to make a valid offer for the property.
  • Section 11 provides details on DOH’s continued involvement in Woodlawn by tracking legally restricted affordable housing units, reconvening the housing working group and coordinating data for the area.



Key Components

  • Tenant Right of First Refusal for larger apartment buildings - Gives renters the right of first refusal if a landlord seeks to sell his/her building. Rather than tenants being automatically displaced from the sale of a building, tenants would have the right to form a tenant’s association and enter into an agreement with a not-for-profit affordable housing developer to purchase the building and maintain it as affordable.
  • Preservation of Existing Affordable Rental (PEAR) - This apartment building refinance program would help existing owners refinance their property to keep tenants in place and rents affordable.
  • Long-Term Homeowner Repair Grant Program - Assists longtime homeowners to remain in their homes by providing grants for home repairs.
  • Residential Acquisition and Rehabilitation Revolving Finance Facility - Supports the creation of rental and for-sale units by helping finance the rehabilitation of vacant buildings.
  • Development of City-Owned Vacant Land – Sets guidelines for the disposition and development of City-owned, vacant, residential land for affordable and mixedincome housing.
  • Enhanced local hiring requirements - Residential developments that receive City land for development of rental housing would be required to meet enhanced local hiring requirements.

Woodlawn Community Open House

The Department of Housing and the Department of Planning and Development co-hosted a community open house on Jan. 30, 2020 at Hyde Park Academy High School. The open house was an opportunity for residents to learn more about the proposed programs, offer feedback to Department of Housing and Planning staff, and talk with their neighbors. More information on the event is available on the document at right.

   Woodlawn Open House Summary



The Department of Housing wants to hear your thoughts on this proposal. Please email all comments to DOH@cityofchicago.org.

More Photos from Stakeholder Meetings


 Supporting Information Facts


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