July 20, 2014

Mayor Emanuel and Alderman Suarez Announce Task Force to Reform Affordable Requirements Ordinance to Create More Housing Options

Community Leaders and Developers Will Make Recommendation to Add 1,000 Affordable Housing Units Over 5 Years, a Fivefold Increase Over Units Created since 2007

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Emanuel and Alderman Ray Suarez (31st ward) today announced the establishment of an Affordable Housing Task Force consisting of community leaders, aldermen and developers to make recommendations to reform the City's Affordable Requirements Ordinance (ARO) and add 1,000 affordable housing units over the next five years. This would represent a fivefold increase over the 187 units created by the ARO since 2007 and ensure that more affordable housing options are offered in high growth neighborhoods. The Task Force will make its recommendations to the City within 65 days.

"I am committed to ensuring that growth in the City's residential housing stock leaves no one behind," said Mayor Emanuel, "By reforming our housing laws and programs we can leverage our growing residential housing sector to create more affordable housing options across the City, especially in high-growth neighborhoods with access to jobs and transit."

Passed into law 11 years ago and last updated in 2010, the ARO requires new residential developments that obtain zoning changes, include City land, or receive financial assistance to set aside affordable units or pay a per-unit in lieu fee. Developer payments are deposited into the Affordable Housing Opportunity Fund, which supports the creation and preservation of affordable rental housing and provides operating support for the Chicago Low Income Housing Trust Fund, a not-for-profit that provides rental subsidies to very-low-income households.

The Mayor has asked that the Task Force provide recommendations for reforming the ARO to spur the development of 1000 new affordable housing units over the next five years. Alderman Ray Suarez, Vice Mayor and Chairman of the City Council Committee on Housing & Real Estate, will oversee the process for the Task Force's work. Task Force meetings will be Co-Chaired by Joy Aruguete, Executive Director of Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation; Jack Markowski, President at Community Investment Corporation; and Craig Huffman, Managing Director of Ascendance Partners.

"The ARO is a critical tool for creating affordable housing options for Chicago residents," said Alderman Suarez, "This Task Force will help us strengthen the ARO to greatly increase the amount of affordable housing units it creates."

Members include:
• Curt Bailey, President, Related Midwest
• Brian Bernardoni, Director of Governmental Affairs, Chicago, Illinois Association of Realtors
• Walter Burnett, Alderman of the 27th Ward and Chairman of the City Council Committee on Pedestrian and Traffic Safety
• Will Burns, Alderman of the 4th Ward
• James Cappleman, Alderman of the 46th Ward
• Alan Lev, President/CEO Belgravia Group and Past President of Homebuilders Association of Greater Chicago
• Deborah Graham, Alderman of the 29th Ward
• Adam Gross, Director of Affordable Housing, Business and Professional People in the Public Interest (BPI)
• Michelle Harris, Alderman of the 8th Ward and Chairman of the City Council Committee on Committees, Rules, and Ethics
• Calvin Holmes, President, Chicago Community Loan Fund
• Natashia Holmes, Alderman of the 7th Ward
• Jonathan Jones, Business Representative, Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters Local 10
• Rafael Leon, Executive Director, Chicago Metropolitan Housing Development Corporation
• Mary Lynch-Dungy, Community Organizer – Housing, ONE Northside
• Eithne McMenamin, Associate Director of Policy, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless
• Deb Mell, Alderman of the 33th Ward
• Emma Mitts, Alderman of the 37th Ward and Chairman of the City Council Committee on License and Consumer Protection
• Shirley Newsome, Board Chair, Quad Communities Development Corp
• Ameya Pawar, Alderman of the 47th Ward
• Ariel Reboyras, Alderman of the 30th Ward and Chairman of the City Council Committee on Human Relations
• Guacolda Reyes, Vice President of Real Estate Development, The Resurrection Project
• JoAnn Thompson, Alderman of the 16th Ward
• Rev. Dr. Richard Tolliver, St. Edmund's Episcopal Church

The current ARO applies to projects with 10 or more units. Projects that receive financial assistance from the City must include 20% of the units as affordable while projects that include City land or a zoning change to increase allowable floor area must include 10% affordable units. Developers subject to these requirements can choose to pay an in lieu fee of $100,000 per required affordable unit.

For-sale units must be affordable for households earning up to 100 percent of Area Median Income (AMI). Most for-sale units are administered through the Chicago Community Land Trust, which maintains affordability in perpetuity. Rental units must be affordable for households earning up to 60 percent of AMI. Rental units are kept as affordable for a term of 30 years.

The Task Force will have 65 days to complete a public engagement process and issue a report with recommendations. Written comments and suggestions will be accepted through Aug. 11 at ARO@cityofchicago.org or via mail to ARO Advisory Panel; 121 N. LaSalle, 10th floor; Chicago, IL 60602. The City expects to introduce an updated ARO Ordinance to City Council this Fall.

Today's announcement is the latest to come out of the Mayor's Five Year Housing Plan to commit $1.3 billion in public and private funds to build, rehabilitate, or preserve 40,000 units of affordable housing within five years. Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Attorney General Lisa Madigan, and Jack Markowski of Community Investment Corporation (CIC) previously announced the launch of a $26 million loan pool to make financing available to rehab and preserve groups of one- to four-unit buildings as affordable rental housing. The Mayor launched the Large Lot Program in March, which offered City-owned vacant lots to local residents, block clubs, and community organizations for $1. Applications for nearly 550 lots in several south side neighborhoods are currently being processed by the Department of Planning and Development. Applications for the second pilot area in East Garfield Park are being accepted through August 4.