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Mayor's Affordable Housing Plan Hits Roadblock When Housing Advocates Cry Foul

Mayor Lori Lightfoot burst onto Chicago’s political stage with promises to run a transparent government that welcomed participation by grassroots neighborhood activists, groups that frequently critiqued her predecessor for shutting them out.

She also said it was time for Chicago to kick-start its affordable housing programs, especially in neighborhoods where residents complain about gentrification and escalating home prices. Those plans hit an obstacle earlier this month.

Courtesy of LUCHA A LUCHA homeownership workshop for Northwest Side residents

Brian Rogal, Bisnow Chicago

 The Chicago Department of Housing, which Lightfoot just established as a separate city department, proposed at a Sept. 11 City Council committee meeting a series of reforms to the Chicago Community Land Trust, which provides affordable homes to city residents that meet certain income restrictions.

Strenuous opposition came almost immediately from the very neighborhood groups Lightfoot had courted throughout her campaign.

“It blindsided us,” Logan Square Neighborhood Association Planning Director Susan Adler Yanun said. “We didn’t know the administration was going to introduce this ordinance until two days before.”

City officials proposed allowing city property owners in several neighborhoods, including Humboldt Park, East Garfield Park and Woodlawn, to opt in to a new pilot program where they could pay reduced property taxes if they agreed to a 30-year covenant and deed restriction that kept the property affordable to lower-income households.

The city also wanted the CCLT to use $3M to start acquiring and rehabilitating properties, possibly bringing it into conflict with neighborhood groups, which have come to see land trusts as effective tools in the fight to slow down gentrification. LSNA, the Spanish Coalition for Housing, the Center of Chan...

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Posted in Lathrop, Noticias, 606 Bloomingdale Trail, Affordable Housing