Chicago/ Real Estate & Development
AI Assisted Icon
Published on May 07, 2024
Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson Unveils Housing Milestones with Overhaul of Affordable Housing SystemSource: X/Mayor Brandon Johnson

Mayor Brandon Johnson is pushing full steam ahead in his quest to overhaul Chicago's affordable housing sphere, marking his first year in office with a slew of red tape-slashing reforms aimed at making the city more equitable for those struggling with housing costs. Johnson's administration has rolled out aggressive strategies such as transforming drab office space into lively housing and pumping funds into creating and maintaining affordable units for residents in need, the city announced.

"In the past year, we have shifted from patchwork solutions to pioneering a sustainable, equitable framework for housing in Chicago, ensuring that our city thrives for all residents," Mayor Johnson expressed pride over his policies which have not just been about slapping up buildings but crafting visions of hope and homeliness for thousands in the city, he went on to stress the transformative nature of these efforts beyond merely constructing units but embodying hope and establishing homes according to the city report.

With an executive order titled 'Cut the Tape', Mayor Johnson is championing an effort to slash the red tape that has traditionally snarled the construction of affordable housing in Chicago. The city's 'Cut the Tape' report, which dropped April this year, hammers home over 100 proposals to grease the wheels of housing development, touching on improved communication, accountability, and scrapping duplicate processes. Deputy Mayor of Business and Neighborhood Development, Kenya Merritt, emphasized the collaborative effort, stating, "I am proud of the work of the Mayor’s Office, Business and Neighborhood Development team, and the 14 City departments that listened to feedback from community leaders and development stakeholders to co-create bold, systems-changing solutions that will result in more development in communities all across the city."

The fruits of such labor are visibly ripening, with Chicago witnessing somewhere around 571 affordable units wrap up with an additional 488 under the hammer, 271 getting a facelift, and five ribbon cuttings since Mayor Johnson took over, it’s pretty hard to miss the impact of these new initiatives on the city's landscape according to the Department of Housing Commissioner Lissette Castañeda, who hailed the initiatives stating, "Our commitment is clear: to ensure every Chicagoan has access to affordable, quality housing as a fundamental right." To illustrate, the Austin United Residential project is laying the groundwork for 78 rental units with a generous slice going to those earning 60% or less of the Area Median Income (AMI) and Lawson House in the upscale Gold Coast neighborhood, standing tall with over 400 preserved affordable housing units.

Ahead are more milestones—13 upcoming developments slated to bag Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) promise to inject over 1,300 affordable rental units into the city's veins. The Loop is also getting a facelift with office buildings repurposed as homes, hoping to spike the district's affordable unit count by nearly a thousand percent. As per the Department of Planning and Development Commissioner Ciere Boatright, the goal is to see the heart of Chicago pulsing with inclusive growth and accessible community spaces, "Through strategic investments in historic buildings and innovative planning, we are setting the stage for a city that not only grows but thrives inclusively, creating vibrant, accessible communities in the heart of Chicago."

Chicago-Real Estate & Development