New Ordinance May Increase Affordable Housing in Gentrifying Neighborhoods

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Business

By: Ashmar Mandou

A three-year pilot program introduced to City Council on Wednesday morning by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Alderman Walter Burnett and Alderman Joe Moreno would enhance the City’s affordable housing policies in gentrifying neighborhoods on the Near North, Near West and Northwest sides. The initiative is expected to create up to 1,000 new affordable homes. The pilot program would target two areas determined through demographic data. The Milwaukee Corridor pilot area would include nearly nine square miles along Milwaukee Avenue within portions of Logan Square, Avondale and West Town. The Near North/Near West Pilot Area would include six square miles near the North Branch Industrial Corridor on the Near North Side and along the Green Line and I-290 on the Near West Side.

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Business

“This pilot initiative will enhance livability for residents by addressing the specific needs of our community,” said Alderman Moreno. “As our neighborhoods grow and job opportunities increase, the availability of affordable housing must increase as well.” The improvements in each area would expand the requirements of the 2015 Affordable Requirements Ordinance (ARO), which entails a 10 percent affordability component for all new projects with 10 or more units that receive a zoning change. The 2015 ARO also requires at least 25 percent of the required affordable units to be located on site or off-site, with the remaining obligation to be met through in-lieu fees up to $225,000. “By improving upon and expanding the ARO, we will be able to meet the growing need for affordable housing and create more options for residents, especially those in areas experiencing gentrification pressures,” said Alderman Burnett. City housing and planning staff will monitor the impact of the pilots on the creation of affordable units and local development and consider what refinements may be appropriate to either continue or expand the policy both during and at the conclusion of the three-year term. More information about the ARO is available at

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