City of Chicago’s Key Accomplishments in 2021
Business and Economic Neighborhood Development
- Increased Chicago’s minimum wage to $15/hour, delivering additional financial stability to more than 400,000 Chicago workers and infusing a needed boost into local economies.
- Announced the largest investment in affordable housing in Chicago’s history, with 24 new developments set to preserve or create 2,400 rental units across the city, and mobilize over $1 billion in investment.
- Launched ChiBizStrong, a plan to deliver the financial relief and regulatory reform needed for Chicago’s small businesses to recover. As of December, the City dispersed more than $20 million to small businesses and nonprofits and slashed bureaucratic red tape by expediting signage and health inspections for businesses and restaurants.
- Chicago maintained the lowest unemployment rate through most of 2021 of any large American city.
- Announced the Equitable Transit Oriented Development Pilot Program, a program to support projects that advance racial equity, community wealth building, public health, and climate resilience goals through healthy, affordable pedestrian-oriented development near transit hubs.
- Spearheaded a joint venture between Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives (CNI) and Lawndale Christian Development Corporation (LCDC) in partnership with United Power for Action and Justice (UPAJ) to build 250 new single-family homes in order to spur affordable home ownership in North Lawndale, a key INVEST South/West community.
- Launched the public engagement phase of the Chicago Monuments and Public Art Project, the City’s first effort to grapple with the history associated with the City’s various municipal art collections and provide a vehicle to address the hard truths of Chicago’s racial history.
- Announced “Arts 77” — a citywide arts recovery and reopening plan for all of Chicago’s 77 community areas, representing an initial investment of over $60 million to support local artists and organizations.
- Issued RFPs for Chicago’s first ever casino-resort, receiving five proposals from three renowned gaming corporations.
- Broke ground on a new $65 million Chicago Park District campus that will bring economic vibrancy and opportunities to Brighton Park and other southwest side communities, advancing the INVEST South/West initiative.
- Helped facilitate more than 170 corporate relocations and expansions in 2021, including Kimberly-Clark, John Deere, Cisco, and Calamos Investments.
- Won the NAE Cities Index ranking as first city in the nation for inclusive policy and socioeconomic environment for immigrants.
- Voted “#1 Best Big City” by Conde Nast Traveler’s 2021 Reader’s Choice award for the fifth year running, solidifying Chicago’s reputation as a first-class travel destination.
- Chicago hit an all time venture capital funding record, with $7.9 billion in 2021 alone, a figure that puts it just behind the long-standing top-tier tech hubs of San Francisco, New York, Boston, and Los Angeles in terms of venture capital investment. The total was more than $1 billion more than Chicago startups raised in all of 2020, representing a stunning funding trajectory.
Chicago Department of Aviation
- Completed the O’Hare Modernization Program. Over 16 years, the $6 billion investment reconfigured and modernized the airfield and paved the way for upcoming terminal redevelopment. These runway projects created more than 4,900 jobs and reduced system impact delays by 64%.
- More than 50,000 essential workers at Chicago's airports welcomed more than 75 million passengers across 240 cities and worldwide. They unloaded more than 2.5 million metric tons of air cargo.
Chicago Department of Housing
- Announced the largest ever investment in affordable housing in the City’s history totaling $1 billion. The City is also acquiring the single largest parcel of vacant developable land in Pilsen, which will be used to build affordable housing.
- Announced $170 million in assistance for renters and landlords impacted by the pandemic, and released the “Blueprint for Fair Housing,” a five-year plan to address housing segregation.
- Provided over $110 million in direct financial assistance and legal services to impacted Chicagoans through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program applications in December.
Chicago Department of Public Health
- Mayor Lightfoot and CDPH opened a mass vaccination site at United Center, set up community clinics at City Colleges, hosted pop-up events, and launched an at-home vaccination program, administering nearly 500,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses. CCC and CDPH also offer a free Vaccine Ambassador course in English and Spanish at Malcolm X College.
- Launched Protect Chicago 77, citywide campaign to get Chicagoans in all 77 community areas vaccinated.
- Kicked off Protect Chicago Plus, focusing on encouraging vaccination in 15 highly impacted communities based on the City’s COVID-19 vulnerability index. During the early stages of Chicago's COVID-19 vaccine rollout, many providers in these communities weren't enrolled yet or hadn't expanded to include the capacity needed to support the community. Protect Chicago Plus allowed the City to move quickly and provide access to vaccines where it was needed most.
- Launched Protect Chicago At Home, allowing all eligible Chicagoans to be vaccinated at home and receive a gift/incentive. Up to 10 people can be vaccinated at a time, so Chicagoans can invite family, friends, or neighbors to their home to be vaccinated together. As of December 27th, Protect Chicago At Home had administered 19,178 vaccine doses.
- Partnered with CPS and the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) partnered to host a series of COVID-19 vaccination events at CPS schools for youth and their parents.
- Worked with Mayor Lightfoot and other City, nonprofit, and community leaders to launch the first-of-its-kind Community Safety Coordination Center, a multi-agency coordination center focused on public safety that builds on the lessons learned from the City’s coordinated response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Worked with CPD to expand the Narcotics Arrest Diversion Program, to divert individuals with a substance use disorder from the criminal justice system and toward treatment and recovery services.
- With Mayor Lightfoot, declared racism a public health crisis in the City of Chicago to address the stark racial inequities that have resulted from centuries of systemic racism in Chicago and the nation.
- Mayor Lightfoot and CDPH awarded a $56 million grant to Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership, in collaboration with the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, NORC at the University of Chicago, Malcolm X College, and Sinai Urban Health Institute to hire 600 individuals from communities hardest hit by COVID to conduct community-level contact tracing efforts. This group adapted to the needs of COVID over time, providing essential resources, staffing the COVID hotline, and doing door-to-door vaccine outreach in addition to implementing contact tracing.
- Released the State of Health for Blacks in Chicago, a first of its kind data brief describing the health status of Chicago’s Black population and the root cause inequities disproportionately affecting the lives of Black Chicagoans. The brief provides an in-depth look at the top drivers of the life expectancy gap between Black Chicagoans and non-Black Chicagoans, which is 9.2 years and rising. That gap widens even further when comparing specific neighborhoods – for example, it jumps to 14.6 years between predominately white Edison Park (83.1 years) and majority Black West Garfield Park (68.5 years).
Chicago Department of Transportation
- Launched Mayor Lightfoot’s five-year, multi-billion Chicago Works jobs and infrastructure plan. CDOT repaved 165 miles of streets and alleys; completed 6,000 ADA compliant curb cuts; and installed 1,950 new streetlight poles and wiring. CDOT completed an unprecedented number of projects to improve safety for people who walk and ride bikes, including 400 pedestrian safety projects and more than 45 miles of new and upgraded bike lanes, and two major pedestrian and bike infrastructure projects, the Navy Pier Flyover and 312 RiverRun.
- Created a strategic plan that puts equity at the forefront of departmental decision-making.
- Supported INVEST South/West by starting construction or design and community engagement on more than $100 million in investments, including streetscapes, bridges, viaduct improvements, and arterial resurfacing.
- Achieved substantial completion of the Chicago Smart Lighting Program (CSLP), a four-year project to replace 280,000 outdated High Pressure Sodium street lights with high-quality, energy efficient LED fixtures. The CSLP reduces the City’s carbon footprint and is expected to cut streetlight electricity costs by more than half, yielding savings of approximately $100 million over 10 years.
Chicago Housing Authority
- Delivered more than 650 new mixed-income units, including 226 units for CHA seniors and families, with an additional 510 units under construction.
- Provided more than 1,600 youth ages 16-24 with summer employment, collectively earning over $2 million.
- Celebrated the 700th closing under the Choose To Own (CTO) homeownership program and 40 CHA residents and Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) participants became new homeowners in 2021.
- Entered new Professional Property Management contracts, improved monitoring using asset management best practices, and launched the Workforce Opportunities Resource Center (WORC) to assist Section 3 businesses and residents seeking career paths.
- Partnered with Chicago’s Continuum of Care to make more than 1,100 Emergency Housing Vouchers available to people who are experiencing homelessness or are at risk of homelessness.
- Helped ensure more than 3,000 residents and staff received vaccines at clinics held at CHA properties, and performed more than 1.5 million wellness checks of seniors.
- Successfully implemented a vaccine requirement for CHA team members, with 100 percent compliance.
Chicago Park District
- Created nine new Teen Centers equipped with desks, chairs, minifridges, games, whiteboards and E-sports, and dedicated spaces to safely gather and engage.
- Hosted 120 free Summer Kickback events for teens on Friday nights throughout the summer that provided food and activities to communities.
- Saw more than 168,000 total enrollments in Park District programming, an improvement of nearly 22% over 2020.
- Completed four new park developments on acquired vacant lots.
- PARK NO. 583, 10108 S. Exchange Ave.--new park with nature play
- PARK NO. 584, 134 W. 119th St.--new park including playground
- PARK NO. 585, 6049 S. Whipple St.--new park with playground
- PARK NO. 587, 658 E. 95th St.--park improvements including fencing, landscape
- Completed more than 100 projects, including 6 artificial turf fields, 11 pool upgrades, 7 new playgrounds, 15 new roof projects, building and mechanical projects.
- Implemented COVID-19 Employee Vaccination Policy to ensure that our facilities are as safe as possible for both staff and patrons. To date, more than 90% of employees have complied with giving CPD their status.
Chicago Police Department
- Took 11,998 illegal guns off our streets, including the recovery of 701 assault weapons.
- Created the Gun Investigations Team, which focuses on interrupting the illegal flow of guns into the city and strengthens CPD’s comprehensive strategy to curb gun violence by addressing the pipeline of dangerous weapons.
- Cleared more than 380 homicides–the most in 19 years.
- Recorded historic lows in burglaries citywide–the fifth consecutive year of such reductions. This is the fewest number of burglaries, and the second fewest reported robberies, since the mid-1960s.
- Activated a new crime fighting program powered by community collaboration, the Gun Trafficking and Homicide Tip Line. Anonymous callers whose tips lead to charges and/or convictions can earn a cash reward of up to $5,000 for gun trafficking cases and up to $15,000 in homicide cases. The tip line is available at 833.408.0069 or 312.746.7330.
- Launched the Narcotics Arrest Diversion Program to divert those struggling with substance use away from the criminal justice system and into treatment. Chicago now operates the largest arrest diversion program in the nation.
- Welcomed new LGBTQ+ Liaison Officers, who foster relationships, engage in dialogue, and ensure residents and CPD maintain connected and aligned on community issues. The Neighborhood Policing Initiative also expanded, with District Coordination Officers now embedded in 10 districts across the city.
- Expanded the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), one of the most comprehensive mental health initiatives in the nation, with 11 new licensed clinicians. In 2022, the Department will increase to 22 clinicians–one for each district.
Chicago Public Library
- In January 2021, CPL welcomed new Commissioner Chris Brown, who in his first 100 days visited every branch.
- Altgeld Branch opened in Spring of 2021, bringing a needed library, daycare, and community space to the far South Side in partnership with the Chicago Housing Authority.
- CPL offered more than 2.2 million Wi-Fi sessions and almost 600,000 computer sessions.
- CPL successfully proposed a 25% increase in our collections budget to prioritize books that reflect the diversity of our communities
- Through a partnership with the Greater Chicago Food Depository (GCFD), CPL distributed 32,806 ‘Grab N’ Go Meal Boxes’ to youth at 30 libraries this summer–a 56% increase in distributed meals over 2020.
Chicago Public Schools
- CPS welcomed new CEO Pedro Martinez in September, becoming the first Latino to hold this position in the city's history outside of an interim capacity.
- CPS students set a record-high graduation rate of 83.8%, up nearly 27 percentage points since 2011. CPS also saw a record-low dropout rate in 2021.
- The Class of 2021 achieved the highest FAFSA completion rate at 89.46%--an increase of 6.36 percent over the Class of 2020 and one of the highest FAFSA completion rates in the country. Additionally, virtual advising and opportunities supported the Class of 2021, which was offered more than $1B ($1,028,475,660) in scholarships.
- CPS established a Virtual Academy (VA) to ensure daily virtual learning for medically-compromised students who were unable to attend in-person learning due to COVID-19. The VA educates 450 students from Pre-K-Age 22, with 95 percent of families indicating they will return to VA for School Year 2023.
- In the summer of 2021, CPS launched Skyline, the District’s new digital standards-based, culturally-responsive curriculum designed for Chicago’s Pre-K-12 students.
- CPS supported the third year of the Chicago Student Success Initiative (CSSI) in partnership with the Crime and Education Lab at the University of Chicago to decrease barriers to high school graduation at Options Schools and Programs. From 2019 to Spring 2021, CSSI interventions have served 1,762 students.
- In October 2021, CPS launched a student-centered transition and transfer policy, building on current best practices, with specific guidance regarding Options School transfers.
- CPS also collaborated with City Colleges of Chicago in the development of Chicago Roadmap - to support students' post-secondary education, as well as the development of Teach Chicago Tomorrow - home growing the future teaching corps.
Chicago Transit Authority
- Launched the “When You’re Ready, We’re Ready” campaign to help welcome riders back to CTA and resumed taking Cubs and White Sox fans to baseball games after an 18-month hiatus due to COVID-19. For the first time ever, offered promotional discounts on three most popular, unlimited-ride passes as part of the “More Fun, Less Fare!” campaign to welcome back riders. Deployed CTA Transit Ambassadors across the rail system to help welcome and thank riders.
- Launched virtual Ventra Card on Google Pay for easy, contactless payments.
- Began service and testing of the new 7000-series railcars and six new, all-electric Proterra buses.
- Became one of the first transit agencies in the nation, and among the largest local employers, to launch an on-site COVID-19 vaccine program exclusively for its employees.
- Began construction work on the historic Belmont Bypass project and broke ground on the Lawrence to Bryn Mawr Modernization project.
- Expanded “Refresh & Renew” station improvement program and installed new artwork at the Addison Blue Line as the finishing touch to station improvements made under the $492 million Your New Blue modernization program. New artwork is also unveiled at the Western/Milwaukee station.
- Unveiled new Pride Train wrap, featuring the transgender and “Philly Pride” flag to celebrate Chicago’s diversity and inclusiveness.
- Plans for a new, modern and fully accessible State/Lake Loop Elevated station are announced along with new project renderings.
- Named American Public Transportation Association (APTA) top large U.S. transit agency, and CTA President Carter is named top transit executive—the first time ever one agency has won both awards in the same year.
- AIA Illinois Greatest Impact award given to Garfield Green Line station project for combining form and function with art and architecture, and for preserving the historic rail station house.
- Passed proposed 2022 operating budget, which maintains service, permanently reduces the price of most unlimited-ride passes and eliminates the transfer fee.
- Chicago was voted, for the 5th consecutive year, the Best Big City in the United States by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler.
- Chicago continues to be a great sports town. The Chicago Sky captured the national title this year. Most recently, SailGP, the world’s most sustainable and purpose driven entertainment platform, announced that they will be coming to Chicago in June 2022 with teams from 9 countries to compete on Lake Michigan.
- Choose Chicago launched a neighborhood tourism campaign, including the $2.3 million Chicago Al Fresco initiative to create community spaces anchored by outdoor dining to enhance public life, community, arts, culture, walking and biking.
City Colleges of Chicago
- CCC launched Future Ready, offering more than 100 short-term programs to eligible Chicagoans at no cost.
- CCC marked one year of the Fresh Start debt forgiveness program, giving more than 900 Chicagoans the chance to return to college, which benefits women of color especially CYSC.
- Chicago Connected, a free Wi-Fi program for eligible Chicago students, expanded to City Colleges of Chicago.
- First Lady Dr. Jill Biden and U.S. Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona visited Arturo Velasquez Institute to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month along with other CCC’s educational partnerships.
- CCC and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) released the first Chicago Roadmap progress report, and launched a Transitional English curriculum in 13 CPS high schools, expanding Transitional Math from 13 to 50 CPS high schools, launching a virtual dual credit course in 14 CPS high schools, and increasing the number of high schools served by CCC post-secondary navigators.
- CCC announced a new scholarship program for adult learners named in honor of historian and civil rights leader Dr. Timuel Black.
- CCC welcomed the first group of Teach Chicago Tomorrow students, CPS graduates preparing to become teachers in the Chicago Public Schools.
- City Colleges and Mid-America Carpenters Regional Council announce partnership to prepare students at Dawson Technical Institute to move into union apprenticeships faster and offer journeymen carpenters the chance to continue their education at City Colleges.
- City Colleges of Chicago and University of Chicago signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at strengthening STEM education and increasing diversity in STEM careers.
- In addition to the excellent work coming from CCC, each college has made an individual impact in 2021. Harold Washington College, Harry S Truman College, Kennedy-King College, Malcolm X College, Olive-Harvey College, Richard J. Daley College, Wilbur Wright College ranked as the top seven best community colleges in Chicago by Best Value Schools. Kennedy-King College received $5 million donation from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott; CCC also created the Kennedy-King College’s Tech Launchpad, a high-quality technology lab, officially opened in Englewood to help prepare underserved Chicagoans for high-demand tech careers. Through key partnerships and academic and training experiences, the Tech Launchpad is designed to help close the industry’s equity gaps. According to Forbes, Kennedy-King College ranked as the #1 community college in Illinois and in the top 10 nationally by Academic Influence, and Olive-Harvey College ranked the #4 community college in Illinois by Academic Influence.
- Truman College launched Innovation One, an on-campus Technology, Training, and Resource Center, creating a space where City Colleges students, faculty, and staff, CPS teachers and students, and community organizations can access cutting-edge technology supplied by Apple; Daley College launched an expansion of Weekend Warriors, which offers made possible through federal funding via the City of Chicago and was named a ‘School on the Rise’ by the National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3); Malcolm X College and UIC signed a dual admissions transfer agreement to save nursing graduates time and money towards their bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) at UIC; Harold Washington College, ranked among the top 25 colleges in Illinois by College Factual; Wilbur Wright College earned one of only 10 national ‘Excelencia in Education’ seals for accelerating Latino student success, and was named an ‘Inspiring Program in STEM’ by INSIGHT Into Diversity on its Engineering Program. In conjunction Wilbur College and Olive-Harvey College were named inaugural recipients of a Cannabis Community College Vocational Pilot program license by Governor JB Pritzker.
Community Engagement and Office of New Americans
- Historic Land Acknowledgement language adopted by City Council in honor of Native American Heritage Month.
- New, more inclusive and participatory budget engagement process that helped lead to passage of the most progressive budget in the City’s history.
- Launched several community specific engagement councils to strengthen our community connections
- Compiled an Engagement Calendar that allowed us to be more expansive and inclusive by recognizing and celebrating a broader range of holidays and events of importance to Chicago's many diverse communities.
- As well as new allocations for returning citizens.
Department of Buildings
- Chicago construction activity and investment in all communities remain strong through the pandemic.
- Chicago led the nation in new construction skilled trade job growth with an increase of 12% while other major cities like New York City and Houston saw a decrease of 14% in new construction jobs.
- Chicago also continued its code modernization program in 2021 with significant interim amendments to its mechanical and plumbing codes, reducing the cost of construction and increasing options for homeowners and small businesses in all communities.
- Both interim code amendments are key to maintaining and increasing Chicago's affordable housing stock.
Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection
- The Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) accomplishments include the Passing of the Chi Biz Strong Initiative; Restoring operations and strengthening community ties; Advocating for worker rights; and Streamlining licensing process and procedures. These accomplishments were the use of Chicago Business Direct, the online licensing portal, to facilitate license applications online to eliminate large grounds at City Hall.
- BACP launched online applications for Public Way Use permits in the online IPS portal. BACP also launched a new Shared Housing Intake portal and integration of existing host universe.
- BACP developed a licensing and regulatory structure to allow for sports wagering in Chicago.
- Due to COVID-19, BACP created the COVID-19 Small Business Support Program (CSBS) with a $2.7 million grant program awarded funding to 41 non-profit organizations providing business owners and entrepreneurs assistance, training and resources to help address COVID-19 challenges.
- BACP, under the leadership of Mayor Lightfoot, selected 8 Chicago Business Centers in 2021, all of which have had soft openings. Additionally, $900,000 allocated through DPD to provide for substantive renovations to the premises.
- BACP also designed the Active Compliance Program (ACP) to offer the tools needed to prevent illegal events and dangerous business practices. During 2021, BCE strengthen this program by adding more resources and re-focusing the program to include industries. New industries included in ACP are gas stations and event spaces.
- Most recently, BACP is now enforcing the mask mandate as it relates to businesses.
- The Local Liquor Control Commissioner has resumed CPD roll call trainings on license enforcement. The Local Liquor Control Commissioner resumed the trainings and has trained over 100 officers in the 3 months.
- In addition to the tremendous work from BACP, the Office of Labor Standards Outreach awarded a grant to Arise Chicago to reach domestic workers and other vulnerable workers; the retribution for Chicago’s workers back in May 20, 2021 where the Mondelez Global Paid Sick Leave Settlement of $95,217 fine, $479,083 to approximately 300 workers and on July 21, 2021, Tri City Foods, LLC DBA Burger King Paid Sick Leave Settlement: $100,000 fine, $459,931 to some of its workers; BACP rolled out paid public vehicle advertising permitting and inspection process for TNP vehicles, and lastly, BACP continued business education program remotely reaching over 15,000 people through webinars.
- On housing efforts, as of June 1, 2021, all individuals who wish to participate in short-term residential rental activities must now begin the registration process directly with the City of Chicago with the House Share Ordinance; and with the Reform to the Home Occupation business license ordinance, it modifies Chicago’s home-based business license requirements and expands the range of occupations that qualify to be operated out of someone’s home.
- To get businesses back in operation quickly, the City enabled all businesses to enter payment plans with affordable down payments.
- This year, we also saw the creation of a temporary policy capping the fees that third-party delivery services can charge restaurants at 15% until December 8, 2021 – extending an important lifeline to the City’s approximately 8,000 restaurants.
We also created an expedited food licensing process to help fill empty restaurant spaces quickly and enable an estimated 1,000+ new restaurants to open up to 14 days sooner.
- We also launched a Sidewalk Signs initiative that will help businesses draw in foot traffic providing a boost in revenue. This initiative legalized these signs, helping businesses advertise their services.
- Another initiative we launched was the Hospitality Reforms that supported the hospitality industry with actions to align City and State license terms, allowing cocktails-to-go and remove barriers to entry for returning residents.
- The Consumer Protection initiative improved the quality of life and supports public safety and health by prohibiting the nighttime sale of packaged goods after 12:00 a.m. and aligning regulations on flavored tobacco products.
- The Fair Marketplace Reforms helps innovative business models connecting consumers to services during the pandemic. This initiative will ensure these models continue to thrive while ensuring businesses are properly licensed – protecting the public, venues, and vendors.
- The Public Vehicle Reforms provides more flexibility to taxicabs by keeping existing cars on the road longer while maintaining safety standards and streamlining regulations – expanding the pool of eligible taxicabs by 20% and saving the industry up to $20M in 2021 alone. This initiative also creates a Low-Speed Electric Vehicle License, improving safety and operations on charter buses and lowering employment barriers for public vehicle chauffeurs.
The Wage Theft Protection, which is Chicago’s first wage theft ordinance went into effect July 31, 2021.
- The Domestic Workers, which protects and supports domestic workers with a written contract requirement for employers (effective January 1, 2022) and $15 minimum wage for domestic workers went into effect August 1, 2021.
- The Chain Business Workers helps ensure that chain business workers are paid the correct minimum wage, by clarifying how employers count their employees.
- The Paid Sick Leave Enhancements covered and clarified additional uses, such as caring for a family member with a closed school or place of care, compliance with public health orders, and mental and behavioral health. This protection went into effect August 1, 2021.
Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events
- DCASE dedicated over $20M to support public art projects through new investments like the Capital Plan, aviation expansion projects, and the Chicago Monuments Project.
- Expanded investment in neighborhoods from $4M to $14M with new grant programs and reimagined Artist Response Program, Taste of Chicago To-Go, House City, and Blues Community Concerts that supported artists and communities, on the south and west sides.
- DCASE celebrated the Year of Chicago Music providing the local music community with over $5M in support.
- The City and DCASE increased Cultural Grants budget from $2.7M to $7.3M, including philanthropic support and Coronavirus Relief Funds, while granting over 500 grants across 9 programs.
- It’s important to highlight racial equity in our programs and processes which positively impacted diversity hiring in 2021 with 100% of new employees being BIPOC, making our grantees more reflective of the City of Chicago--60% of Individual Artists Program grantees are BIPOC as compared to only 38% in 2016, and grants were awarded to artists and arts organizations in 50 wards in 2021 as compared to 35 in 2016.
- DCASE partnered with CDOT and BACP to extend the Expanded Outdoor Dining with almost 300 restaurants and establishments across the city participating to review and permit almost 400 special event applications since we resumed issuing permits in June 2021
- The COVID-19 Recovery Task Force recommendations, led the city’s efforts to make Chicago a highly welcoming destination for film and television producers post-pandemic which will result in over $700M in revenue that generates over 20,000 local jobs
- DCASE launched $2.3M Chicago Creative Worker Assistance Program
- DCASE brought in $20M in additional funds and resources for public art, facilities and security, programming, and recovery and reopening efforts to supplement the 50% cut to our 2021 budget
- In 2022, DCASE will see an increase of $26 million in new arts and culture investments to support artists and creative industries. This investment will transform DCASE’s Cultural Grants budget and increase direct support for the arts sector from $2.7 million to $20.7 million over the next two years. Combined with other programs, this year alone, the city provided nearly $100 million in funds to support the arts landscape — all told making Chicago one of the top major U.S. cities in government support for arts recovery and artist relief.
Department of Family and Support Services
- The Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) and the City invested $35 million in federal COVID-relief funding to support homeless individuals at high risk of COVID-19, including rapidly moving individuals out of shelters and encampments and into stable housing.
- As of December 2021, 1,262 households have moved into housing since the onset of the pandemic. The City has also set up health care partnerships for every shelter in the city, through which 2,423 residents have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
- One Summer Chicago provided paid six-week job opportunities to 21,748 Chicago youth, connecting them to summer employment, mentoring, and positive learning opportunities.
- The Chicago Youth Service Corps expanded from a summer program in 2020 to a three-season program in 2021, providing 1,610 youth ages 16 to 24 with opportunities to earn money while engaged in service-learning opportunities focused on local and civic engagement.
- The Service Coordination and Navigation (SCaN) model successfully launched in 2021 and has served more than 638 youth in the initial year between the ages of 14-24 in neighborhoods that see some of the highest level of gun violence, by connecting youth to mental health services, housing, education/training, and legal services.
- DFSS launched an online portal in partnership with RiseKit to make handoffs and collaboration easier for workforce development agencies. More than 450 residents have used the platform to access workforce training, resources, and job opportunities.
- DFSS delivered 5.2 million meals to older adults in need through November 2021 with the Home Delivered Meal program. DFSS trained 149 building staff about social isolation and recognizing the signs and symptoms of dementia, resulting in the capacity to assist 16,941 apartment units. The Case Advocacy Support Team conducted nearly 1,800 senior well-being checks.
Department of Finance
- New Debt Relief Program
- Address the regressive burden of the City’s fines and fees for qualified low-income individuals.
- Qualify by proving that income is at or below 300% of the Federal Poverty Line or if you are already enrolled in the Utility Billing Relief Program (UBR).
- Receive debt forgiveness on older tickets and outstanding fees by paying off the original cost of tickets received during the past three years.
- Receive a 50% reduction in costs for new tickets, which aligns with a participant’s ability to pay.
- Fix-it tickets for City Sticker and Expired Plate violations
- One-time ticket forgiveness by purchasing the required sticker for two violations: city sticker and expired plate.
- Available once for the life of a license plate (temporary plates ineligible).
- Individuals who receive a ticket for lack of a city sticker or expired plate would be able to purchase the required sticker, contest ticket, present proof of purchase, and have all tickets issued 30 days prior to the compliance date dismissed for that particular violation.
- Utility Billing Relief Program (UBR) Extension
- UBR program extended indefinitely.
- Lift people out of debt offering a pathway to compliance.
- Qualifying households have past debt set aside upon enrollment into UBR Program.
- No payments on that debt are required while enrolled.
- Reduces the amount that qualifying households are required to pay for water, sewer, and water-sewer tax to more manageable and affordable amount that align with income level.
- Enrollees see 50% reduction from previous payment of water utility service.
- Increased ease and convenience of bill-paying options with the addition of 52 new self-service kiosks throughout the city.
Department of Law
- Provided critical contractual, logistical and other legal support services to Chicago Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) COVID-19 vaccination efforts. Assisted in ensuring the federally operated COVID-19 mass vaccination site at the United Center complied with all local and state laws.
- Prevailed in a lawsuit requiring the federal government to agree to include undocumented immigrants in the census count and process census data using a schedule designed to promote a more accurate count which directly impacted the overall City of Chicago census count results.
- Filed a lawsuit against online vaping businesses for violating the City’s ban on sales of flavored tobacco products. The lawsuit continues the City’s efforts at combatting online marketing and sales of vaping products to underage Chicagoans, which has resulted in settlements with 47 online vaping businesses that agreed to make substantial changes to their business practices and pay more than $2.1 million in fines.
- Prevailed in an appeal which overturned $44 million judgment against the City. (First Midwest Bank/LaPorta v. City of Chicago)
- Collected $1.2 million in Personal Property Lease Tax and $900,000 in Amusement Tax following the issuance of guidance concerning tax collection obligations for out-of-state companies that lack a physical presence within Chicago’s taxing district.
- Increased hiring of diverse attorneys by 35 percent in 2021 YTD through active engagement by law department employees in the activities of the Committee on Inclusion and Diversity and the Assistant Corporation Counsel Action Committee within the department. Improved the pace and scale of attorney appointments year-over-year while recommitting to address racial and equity hiring disparities for experienced and talented attorneys.
Department of Streets and Sanitation
- DSS Street Sweepers cleaned 224,568 miles of residential streets and 7,274 alleys. Together, they collected 144,681 cubic yards of debris.
- In February, DSS snow crews went above and beyond in the City’s response to nearly an entire season’s worth of snow in three weeks while dealing with record low temperatures. For these efforts, DSS partnered with the Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC), Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the Department of Water Management (DWM), who worked nonstop until the streets were cleared.
- DSS completed the rollout of the turn-by-turn snow routing software—this software allows for real time tracking of the percentage of completion during snow clearing programs-- for residential snow clearing to all 50 wards.
- DSS worked in partnership with the Department of Assets, Information and Services (AIS) and the Public Building Commission (PBC) on the construction of a new salt dome at 2555 W. Grand Ave. The new dome stores up to 60,000 tons of salt, a significant help to our operations.
- DSS worked with the Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) to create regular outreach and cleaning schedules for homeless encampments, improving the quality of life for residents.
- As the City began to reopen in May, DSS provided resources to make more than 800 events possible in 2021.
- DSS continues to proactively address rodent abatement as crews are out working daily to bait alleys and backyards, and DSS reallocates resources to help ensure adequate coverage. Last fall, DSS opened two new regional rodent control offices, bringing our total to three offices: South Side, North Side and Central.
- DSS is prioritizing several recommendations from the recent Delta Institute’s Waste Strategy to help address material management strategy. While also improving contracted recycling collection services with more stringent reporting requirements, clear language on contamination, and better accountability. DSS also worked with partners to promote citywide Pumpkin Smash Events and Holiday Tree Recycling.
- Traffic Services responded to 40,000 abandoned vehicle complaints and has relocated over 18,000 vehicles for sister agencies and contractors to complete work in the City. Additionally, Traffic Services has posted over 325,000 no parking signs and delivered over 32,000 barricades for DCASE, CPD, the Film Office and for Aldermanic requests.
- With 14 tower crews, the Bureau of Forestry picked up tree debris at 22,140 locations, addressed 16,068 tree emergencies, trimmed 25,546 trees, and removed 10,379 diseased or damaged trees.
- In October, DSS rolled out a new pink street sweeper in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
- DSS continues to prioritize racial equity and we have worked closely with the Office of Equity and Racial Justice to find new ways to include equity in our work. DSS continues its commitment to goals set forth in 2021, including using its current data on 311 complaints to analyze and predict where there are gaps in city services.
Environment and Sustainability
- Announced the Green Recovery Agenda to lead on 4 strategies: Climate Action Plan, 100% renewable energy procurement, city-wide building decarbonization strategy, and a new utility franchise to support a green and equitable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Unveiled the Chicago Waste Strategy to advance a more circular waste system, improve diversion rates, and advance new economic opportunities.
- Led the Chicago Building Decarbonization Working Group to identify strategies to equitably reduce 70% of greenhouse gas emissions from the City's building stock through retrofits, electrification & building code updates.
- Renewed commitment to building performance through Retrofit Chicago, industrial energy efficiency, and benchmarking, investing in equitable decarbonization in the built environment.
- Modernizing the City’s electricity franchise agreement to anticipate the 21st century energy needs of residents and businesses.
- Launched the 2022 Climate Action Plan to update Chicago's climate goals to reduce carbon emissions while also increasing household savings, advancing environmental justice, and improving community health.
- The City made significant progress towards our vision of encouraging healthy, affordable, and sustainable development near transit. After a robust public comment period, the City of Chicago’s first ever Equitable Transit-Oriented Development (ETOD) Policy Plan was formally approved and adopted by the Chicago Plan Commission. The Mayor’s Office also partnered with Elevated Chicago to launch an ETOD Pilot Program which selected 11 community-driven projects near transit across Chicago to receive micro-grant funding and technical assistance.
- The City partnered with community food leaders to co-create Chicago’s Food Equity Agenda, a multi-year effort to transform the food system by removing barriers to urban farming, supporting BIPOC food entrepreneurs, and better connecting residents with nutrition programs and healthy, affordable food. With support and partnership from the Greater Chicago Food Depository, the Mayor’s Office also hired the City’s first ever Food Equity Policy Lead to advance this agenda and convene a new cross-sector, interdepartmental Food Equity Council to bring transparency, accountability, and collaboration to create an equitable local food system.
- The City made significant progress towards our vision of encouraging healthy, affordable, and sustainable development near transit.
- After a robust public comment period, the City of Chicago’s first ever Equitable Transit-Oriented Development (ETOD) Policy Plan was formally approved and adopted by Chicago Plan Commission.
- The Mayor’s Office also partnered with Elevated Chicago to launch an ETOD Pilot Program which selected 11 community-driven projects near transit across Chicago to receive micro-grant funding and technical assistance.
- The City partnered with community food leaders to co-create Chicago’s Food Equity Agenda, a multi-year effort to transform the food system by removing barriers to urban farming, supporting BIPOC food entrepreneurs, and better connecting residents with nutrition programs and healthy, affordable food.
- With support and partnership from the Greater Chicago Food Depository, the Mayor’s Office also hired the City’s first ever Food Equity Policy Lead to advance this agenda and convene a new cross-sector, interdepartmental Food Equity Council to bring transparency, accountability, and collaboration to create an equitable local food system.
- Executed on $1.5b refinancing which generates $254m in budgetary relief. The largest tender in the city’s history and largest city of Chicago transaction left book-run by a minority firm.
- Secured upgraded rating outlooks from all four rating agencies due to significant progress toward structural balance.
- First time in the City’s history that the City is now paying an actuarially determined contribution for all four of the City’s pension fund.
- After three years of not resorting to scoop and toss, the City has finally climbed the debt ramp and for the first time in decades is carrying the full freight of debt service in the budget which allows the city to begin investing in capital projects across the city again.
- Developed a finance plan to fund capital projects in the Chicago Works Plan and the Chicago recovery plan without a significant increase in the debt burden.
- Secured 5 competitive proposals for the Chicago casino which will generate $200 million in annual revenues for the police and fire pension funds.
- Expanded Chicago Connected to allow participants to take advantage of free workforce development and digital literacy tools.
- When COVID-19 hit Chicago, the hotel industry workers were the worst hit causing thousands of workers to lose their jobs. However, with the leadership from Mayor Lightfoot, hotel workers won the Hotel Ordinance requiring hotels that once they reopen, they must rehire the eligible workers who were laid off due to COVID-19 and the decline in tourism.
- A second win in the labor realm under Mayor Lightfoot was reaching the $15 minimum wage, which went into effect on July 1, 2021.
- In conjunction with Andy Fox, the Director of Labor Standards for the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection and Mayor Lightfoot, workers at Mondelez Nabisco and Burger King were compensated after an investigation was held under Mondelez and Burger King nearing $1 million dollar fines.
- Eventually, the passage of the 2021 budget will continue to help restore positions that were cut in areas of the mental health field, creating new jobs across various communities.
Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities
- The Mayor’s Office of People with Disabilities (MOPD) launched a City-wide Access Officer structure, naming a point person on disability access in every City of Chicago department and sister agency. Access Officers serve as departments’ point of contact on any accessibility needs for members of the public and work with their department to increase accessibility.
- In efforts to ensure the vaccine roll out was accessible, MOPD worked with AIS to increase accessibility of City Council Chambers by adding additional wheelchair accessible and companion seats, ensuring accessible door entrances, removing barriers in the aisle, and adding a high contrast detectable warning strip for people who are blind/low vision and assistive listening devices.
- MOPD also strengthened relationships with Chicago City Colleges (CCC) and created an Advisory Committee to identify training opportunities for Disability Access Center and Career Services staff, to better serve CCC students with disabilities.
- MOPD also helped with the removal of the $1 an hour fee for Personal Assistance Services, where individuals with disabilities can apply for a Personal Assistant to provide up to six hours per week of help around their home and can include cleaning, shopping and preparing meals, budgeting. Previously, participants had to pay $1 an hour for each hour of service received each month – this fee has been eliminated, increasing access to the Personal Assistance program and removing financial barriers.
- Despite the barriers and safety precautions required as a result of Covid-19, MOPD’s Home Modification program completed 126 home modifications to make Chicago homes more accessible for people with disabilities by adding ramps or lifts to external entrances and making interior areas such as restrooms and kitchens more accessible.
Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority
- McCormick Place fully reopened in July of 2021. Since its reopening, the campus successfully hosted 59 events with about 650,000 people, bringing millions of dollars in economic impact to the city, and bringing more than 1,000 direct campus employees back, plus nearly 290,000 hours of skilled labor through contractors who support the events.
- The McCormick Square campus was reaccredited by the Global Biorisk Advisory Council--Only 47 convention centers, out of more than 250 in the United States have achieved the GBAC STAR accreditation.
My Chi. My Future
- Expanded MCMF To A 5th Community
- Identified Local Anchor Orgs In Each MCMF Community To Co-lead On The Ground
- In June 2021, Held First Ever "Holding Healing Spaces For Youth" Virtual Conference Focused On Youth Mental Health, Trauma Informed Care And Racial Healing For Youth Service Providers
- Held First In-person Youth Summit.
Office of Budget Management
- The $16.7B Recovery Budget paves the way to drive equitable growth and job creation, accelerate investments to eliminate inequities, and build on our region’s strengths.
- $1.9B of historic investments in mental health, environment, arts, and the largest city-run monthly cash assistance program in the U.S. for hard-hit residents.
- $1.2B for the Chicago Recovery Plan using a combination of American Rescue Plan (ARP) dollars and general obligation bonds which funds investments that focus on thriving and safe communities, equitable economic recovery, and essential city services.
- Launched the most robust community engagement effort for the 2022 Budget conducted by the City to date.
- Incorporated participation from neighborhood organizations, resident forums, and focus groups with subject matter experts.
- Involved participation of City Council members in aldermanic working groups.
- Informed the City’s most progressive budget that maintains core city services, invests in people and communities, and creates equitable economic recovery from the pandemic.
- Managed the distribution of federal CARES and other federal funding for key investments in the hardest-hit neighborhoods and industries for direct response to the COVID-19 emergency.
- Implemented Year 1 of the Chicago Works Plan: In November of 2020, a two-year Capital Plan, Chicago Works, was passed for over $1.4 billion of investments to be programmed in 2021 and 2022. To date, OBM has worked with multiple departments to set-up over $515 million of budgets for Capital Improvements, facilitated multiple intergovernmental agreements needed for execution, and conducted regular strategic check-ins with the departments implementing the Chicago Works program.
- Redesigned the 5-Year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) Book: In 2021, the City released a designed 5-Year CIP Book for $11.2 billion of capital improvements. The new format highlights programs and projects with greater context than in years past, provides brief descriptions of the project selection process, and increases the general readability of the document to better address the citizens of Chicago what capital improvements are planned over the next five years.
- Closed projected $733 million gap with $298.2 million in savings and efficiencies.
- $491.1 million in new or increased revenues – including the use of ARP resources for essential City services.
- No new tax or significant fee increases for Chicago residents.
- For the first time, all four pension funds will be paid on an actuarially determined basis.
Office of Emergency Management and Communications
- Launched the Safe Chicago initiative in September in partnership with CPD, CFD and Assets, Information & Services (AIS) to provide Bleeding Control Kits at City-owned or leased facilities. In coordination with AIS, OEMC has installed over 400 wall mounted Bleeding Control Kits in 269 City buildings. Each kit is equipped with a tourniquet, gauze, shears, gloves, and an instruction manual to be used in an emergency before first responders arrive. OEMC has started offering in-person training for City employees.
- In partnership with CPD, established the Summer Operations Center (SOC) to support citywide coordination around violence reduction. The SOC provides strategic oversight and coordinated citywide deployment of public safety personnel and assets.
- Launched a new feature within the Smart911 platform to assist CPD in serving Chicago communities. Residents with a Smart911 safety profile who have a home surveillance camera that captures the public way can now volunteer to share their home surveillance camera footage with CPD in the event of a crime in their neighborhood.
Office of Equity and Racial Justice
- Launched City of Chicago’s first Equity and Racial Justice Learning Cohorts. Over 18 months, we will provide 20 departments with differentiated training and technical assistance to ensure they can normalize, organize, and operationalize racial equity. The training is provided by the Government Alliance for Racial Equity’s (GARE) and covers topics such as the role of government in racial equity work, leadership and communication skills to advance racial equity, and applying the Racial Equity Tool to pilot projects. At the conclusion of the cohorts, participating department’s will have completed a department specific Racial Equity Action Plan.
- Hosted Community Wealth Building Summit and made a $15 million investment in Chicago Recovery Plan. The Community Wealth Building (CWB) initiative is an approach to economic development that promotes the local, democratic, and shared ownership and control of community assets. Last May, OERJ hosted a cross-sector convening of Chicago stakeholders to explore how to grow CWB models such as worker cooperatives, limited-equity housing cooperatives, community land trusts, and community investment vehicles into commercial real estate. As part of the Chicago Recovery Plan, this administration has invested $15M to support the growth of Chicago’s CWB ecosystem – this will include (a) technical assistance grants to support the legal, financial, business development, and community education of these models and (b) grants to pilot projects to demonstrate impact and future opportunities.
- Hosted Together We Heal Summit and made $6 million investment toward community healing projects. In January 2021, hosted the Together We Heal Summit and the feedback and engagement at the summit led to the advancement of two signature efforts:
- Chicago’s first Equity Statement of Principles provides a shared definition of equity that can be embraced by the entire City of Chicago enterprise. This definition, along with the vision statement and associated principles, will aid in operationalizing the change process necessary to create a more equitable city.
- A 2022 Year of Healing frameworkto serve as a guide for the City of Chicago to repair harm with Black and Brown communities. The framework has three pillars: (1) Reflect on our past, (2) Reclaim our present, (3) Reimagine our future. OERJ will model the framework within key initiatives (e.g., eTOD; CSCC) and then release a report at the end of the year with our key learnings.
- Launched the Employee Diversity Dashboard in January 2021 to ensure public, consistent alignment on progress and opportunities for grown in the City of Chicago’s workforce demographics (Chicago.gov/EquityDashboard). This dashboard is designed to provide a real-time, user-friendly view the race, gender and age of city employees broken down by departments.
- Created Housing Stability Community Response Team (HSCRT). Modeled after successes of the Racial Equity Rapid Response Team (RERRT), the HSCRT was established in August 2021 in partnership with the Mayor’s Office and Department of Housing, with support from the Polk Foundation and the Chicago Community Trust, to address the community concerns around the impact of evictions following the end of the federal and state eviction moratoriums. We convened this table of community organizations representing eight neighborhoods heavily impacted by housing instability along with advocates, research institutions and government stakeholders, to mitigate an eviction crisis with an explicit racial equity focus. Much of the work has focused on City-wide outreach and education in multiple languages to inform residents about the eviction moratorium expiring and resources including rental assistance and legal aid. HSCRT has also mobilized to create social media campaigns, in-person outreach, including door-knocking to deliver informational flyers and doorhangers, and a virtual town hall event aimed at informing tenants about their housing rights, resources and how the eviction court process operates.
Public Buildings Commission
- The Public Buildings Commission (PBC) completed the Salt Dome Replacement Facility on Grand Avenue, in partnership with the Department of Assets, Information and Services (AIS). It can store up to 60,000 tons of salt.
- PBC developed the new 173,000 square foot, state-of-the-art building to replace the previous Hancock High School, which includes 28 classrooms, two computer labs, four suites for science, music, art, and health classes. The campus also includes rooms for extracurricular activities such as dance, sports and fitness, a gymnatorium, library, a media center, theater, elevators for accessibility, and extra support spaces.
- In 2021, the PBC received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting granted by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada for its comprehensive annual financial report for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019. The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management. In addition, PBC’s Englewood STEM High School Project was featured in the Spring 2021 Learning By Design Magazine Architectural Awards Showcase; and the PBC’s Whitney M. Young, Jr. Branch Library Expansion and Renovation received the 2021 AIA Illinois Honor Awards’ Greatest Impact Award.
- Expanded Drug Arrest Diversion Program citywide, will further expand criteria for participation in the new year, which will reduce the amount of time officers spend on arrests related to SUD, freeing up officer time to focus on the investigation and deterrence of violent crime.
- Launched the CARE team in the Southwest Side of the city, that will divert calls for service that have a mental health component from CPD into CFD and CDPH, freeing up officer time to focus on the investigation and deterrence of violent crime.
- Ensuring that victim services and street outreach teams are trained in de-escalation techniques, with victim services and street outreach workers are given the tools to de-escalate situations that have the potential for violence in real time.
- Victim services staff are trained to be intentional about linking survivors/victims/impacted families to supports that have the potential to reduce future instances of violence. Which can lead to individuals taking advantage of these supports are likely to have a decreased risk of being a victim and/or perpetrator of violence.
- Street outreach teams work with conflicting groups to come to a shared agreement to cease violent acts against one another through peace agreements. This reduces the risk of future instances of violence between otherwise conflicting groups.
- Violence Reduction Dashboard was launched which was a huge success among community partners, outreach organizations, research institutions, and more.
- A master data sharing agreement was executed between the City and University of Chicago enabling us to conduct research and evaluations of our various programs and initiatives for data-driven policy making.
World Business Chicago
- Chicago startups have raised $5.5 billion in VC funding through the first three quarters of 2021, according to data recently released by Pitchbook. This is double what was raised in all of 2020, which was already a record high for Chicago tech companies.
- In 2021, Chicago saw the highest percentage of its early-stage funding going to Black- and Latino-founded start-ups of any city in the country, at over 15%, according to TechRise and Crunchbase data.
- In October 2021 O’Hare Airport climbed to be number one port in the nation and the most internationally connected airport in the U.S., the third-most internationally connected in the world. 6. In 2021, Chicago was named Top Corporate Metro by Site Selection Magazine and Top Metro for Foreign Direct Investment by IBM Report, each for eight years running.
- Chicago the #1 Best Big City in the U.S via Conde Nast, for the fifth consecutive year.
- Chicago named in a top 10 of creative brands in Cannes Lions Creativity Report, surpassing Nike, Mastercard, and Apple. 9. Chicago Ranked #5 City of Future in North America by FDI Intelligence. 10. Chicago Ranked Top Midwest Startup Hub by Chicago Inno.