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An estimated 65,611 people were experiencing homelessness in Chicago in 2020. This in-depth analysis includes sheltered, unsheltered, and people temporarily staying with others, and it is a 7,338-person increase (+12.6%) from 2019, immediately prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fewer Chicagoans experienced sheltered and unsheltered homelessness, but Chicago saw a large spike (+20%) in people temporarily staying with others (or "doubling up").
The Sweet Home Chicago (SHC) Coalition was comprised of nine community organizations and two labor unions that conducted a two and a half year campaign that resulted in passage of the Vacant Building TIF Purchase Rehab Program on May 4, 2011. This ordinance is one of the very few pieces of legislation to benefit low-income people that passed during Mayor Richard Daley's 22 years in office.
The Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) is Chicago's primary source of funds to redevelop neighborhoods devastated by the home foreclosure crisis. Yet NSP is able to fund a minute fraction of the resources needed to effectively address the crisis. The city of Chicago has another available resource, Tax Increment Financing (TIF), which could be used in a similar way to the way NSP dollars are used, though they are not currently being allocated for this purpose.Of the city's 159 TIF districts, all but three allow TIF funds to be used to purchase and rehabilitate properties. The Sweet Home Chicago ordinance, now pending before the Chicago City Council, would designate a yearly share of TIF funds to build and rehabilitate affordable housing, including foreclosed houses and apartment buildings. If enacted, TIF funds would complement the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, allowing the city to more significantly impact the continuing foreclosure crisis.This report examines the current impact of NSP, the extent to which TIF resources can be used to address foreclosures, and the resources available in TIF funds within neighborhoods hard hit by foreclosures.Key findings include:The Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), launched in 2009, has already depleted 28 percent of its funding through the purchase and rehab of only 83 properties. These properties comprise less than 1 percent of the total number of foreclosures completed in Chicago during 2009 alone.The maximum number of foreclosed properties acquired in any of 27 NSP communities as of July 30, 2010 is 11.32% of home foreclosures in NSP communities occurred within TIF districts. These properties could be rehabilitated as affordable housing using TIF dollars.In 2009, 507 foreclosures were completed and 1,415 foreclosures were filed within TIF districts in communities that were ineligible for NSP.Communities reporting more than 50 foreclosures within a TIF district have uncommitted funds available in the TIFs within their boundaries. Estimates of uncommitted funds that will be available over the life of these TIF districts range from $19 million to $761 million.
Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Funding and Affordable Housing: An analysis of current TIF resources and City of Chicago TIF-funded housing 1995-2008July 31, 2009
A serious affordable housing crisis, which has plagued the City of Chicago for more than a decade, has deepened drastically during the last two years due to the rise in foreclosures and unemployment. Meanwhile, through its 158 active Tax Increment Financing (TIF) districts, the city has accumulated, and likely will continue to generate, a large surplus of funds that could be used to alleviate the affordable housing problem.TIF districts were created to promote revitalization of blighted or struggling neighborhoods, and the availability of affordable housing is instrumental to a neighborhood's stability. Unfortunately, the city's policy on the use of TIF funds for housing has not gone far enough to adequately address the fundamental need for affordable housing in developing neighborhoods. Expenditures on affordable housing have accounted for too small of a percentage of TIF funds. An even smaller percentage of TIF funds have supported housing affordable to people in the neighborhoods in which it is built and for those with the greatest housing needs.Key findings are:As of 2008, there was nearly $1 billion built up in Chicago's TIF accounts at least $350 million of which has not been dedicated to a particular project.Between 1995-2007, only 4 percent of TIF funds were targeted for development of affordable housing. (Note: 1995 was the first year the Chicago Department of Housing began issuing detailed reports on its production and spending)TIF funds have been used to create housing that is more expensive and targeted for higher incomes than existing housing in the neighborhoods in which it has been created. In 50 percent of the wards in which TIF-funded housing was built, at least half of the units were too expensive for current residents.TIF-funded units go disproportionately to higher income households. Between 1995-2008, only 27 percent of the units created with TIF funds went to the households with the most critical needs -- those earning less than $20,000 a year.Recommendations:Target 20 percent of TIF funds each year for affordable housing.For those targeted dollars, affordable should be defined as housing that meets the needs of neighborhood residents and those with the greatest need.This report was prepared by Chicago Coalition for the Homeless on behalf of the Sweet Home. Chicago Coalition.
As Chicago waits to hear whether it will be chosen to host the 2016 Olympics, it is importantfor housing advocates to be aware of how housing rights have been impacted in other Olympic host cities around the globe. While the Olympics are an opportunity to showcase a city to the world, the development that comes with hosting the games can often have very negative consequences, particularly for poor and marginalized people.Looking at the past 20 years of experiences of Olympic host cities, what is revealed are some rather devastating impacts on housing rights. In fact, all cities that have hosted the Olympic Games suffer similar negative consequences.
For people who experience homelessness, access to living-wage employment is often the key to finding and maintaining stable housing. Many struggle to become employed because of multiple barriers such as criminal records, lack of work experience, low skills and education levels, and mental health issues such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. The transitional jobs model is gaining in popularity as a better way to help people with barriers gain employment.
A CCH policy brief that examines housing initiatives in the state of Illinois including: creating and preserving housing for people with the lowest incomes; removing barriers to developing affordable housing in the suburbs; ending discrimination and promoting open access to housing; and removing barriers to developing affordable housing
CCH policy brief that examines how police and our communities respond to homelessness, particularly homeless people on the street.
A 1999 survey of 481 families living in homeless shelters in Chicago gathered information about the impacts of welfare reform on these families' lives. The results indicate that families are becoming homeless because of changes in welfare law that have led to an increase in lost benefits and a policy of pushing people into work without proper preparation or adequate supports.
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