Emanuel, Suarez Announce Task Force to Reform Affordable Requirements Ordinance

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Business

Mayor Emanuel and Alderman Ray Suarez (31st ward) 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.

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 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.

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