In the past decade, the 1st Ward has experienced tremendous residential growth. Growth is important in maintaining economic investment and neighborhood diversity that make our community a destination for residents and businesses alike.
There is a common misconception about the term affordable housing. Specifically, “affordable” is a term used to define the area median income (AMI) range. For example, 100 % of area median income in the City of Chicago for one person is $52,800. Therefore it is critical to continue to expand affordable housing options for all residents in the city.
A staunch supporter of balanced community development, Alderman Moreno uses several tools to keep our neighborhoods affordable. These tools are essential in keeping long-time residents and working families in our community while attracting new residents. He works to promote several affordable housing options offered by the Chicago Department of Housing for both residents and developers.
Since becoming Alderman in 2010, Proco Joe Moreno has established himself to be one of the most effective Aldermen in the Chicago City Council in promoting, facilitating, creating and delivering affordable housing units within his ward. This has been accomplished through partnerships with developers, not-for-profits, the Chicago Housing Authority and the Chicago Department of Planning & Development. In addition, Alderman Moreno has been an effective legislative advocate in the effort to strengthen and improve the City’s affordable housing laws and policies.
Affordable Requirements Ordinance (ARO)
Starting in 2013, Alderman Moreno established a policy that required developers to meet their Affordable Requirements Ordinance (ARO) obligation by providing on-site units, rather than paying the in-lieu fee, in their new-construction residential developments. In this way, Alderman Moreno was able to leverage the City’s ARO law to establish a public-private paradigm and partnership to create and deliver more than 160 new-construction, condo-quality, affordable (up to 60% AMI) units in the 1st Ward, with dozens of more units soon to be committed. Consequently, as of April 2018, Alderman Moreno’s ward is indeed the 1st ward in the City of Chicago in providing ARO units.
In 2015, Alderman Moreno supported, advocated for and helped pass the improved ARO Ordinance. The new law increased in-lieu fees that developers have to pay for not providing on-site affordable units, required developers to provide at least ¼ of their ARO obligation on-site, provided developers an off-site affordable unit option, provided density bonuses for affordable units near transit stations, incentivized developers to work with the Chicago Housing Authority, increased the number of eligible affordable unit buyers (increasing the maximum allowable income to 120% AMI) and increased funding provided to the Chicago Low Income Housing Trust Fund.
In 2017, Alderman Moreno supported and helped pass the Milwaukee Corridor and the Near North/Near West Pilot Areas. The Milwaukee Corridor Pilot, which encompasses around 90% of the 1st Ward, eliminates the in-lieu fee option, increases the percentage of affordable units that developers have to provide from 10% to 15% for on-site units and to 20% for off-site units within the pilot area, and increases the maximum allowable income for renters to 80% AMI while maintaining the rental rates at 60% AMI.
Not-for Profit Partnerships
Alderman Moreno has worked closely and collaboratively with long-established, not-for profit housing organizations, such as the Hispanic Housing Development Corporation, Bickerdike, the Habitat Company, Illinois Facilities Fund (IFF) and the Latin United Community Housing Association (LUCHA), to maintain and improve the current affordable housing stock and to increase the amount of available housing units in the 1st Ward.
Alderman Moreno supported the necessary zoning permissions and $4 million in TIF funding for the Hispanic Housing Corporation’s North & Talman Avenue project, creating 53 units of senior housing and 57 units of affordable family housing. He worked with LUCHA to enable the zoning and funding necessary for the creation of 24 new-construction, affordable rental units in the 1st Ward through the Tierra Linda project. During the past year, Alderman Moreno supported the necessary $49 million in tax credit funding to rehab and upgrade 176 affordable 1st Ward units in the Bickerdike portfolio. Alderman Moreno also worked with The Habitat Company to ensure the necessary funding to preserve 167 affordable rental units in the ward. Lastly, he partnered with IFF on their HomeFirst project by facilitating the provision of City-owned lots for the creation of 4 new-construction buildings providing 10 affordable units, through CHA rental assistance, for individuals with disabilities.
Chicago Housing Authority Partnership
Alderman Moreno has worked diligently with the Chicago Housing Authority to create new affordable housing opportunities and to renovate and renew existing, CHA housing stock at the historic Julia C. Lathrop Homes.
Earlier this year, Alderman Moreno worked with private developer Metropolitan Housing Development Corporation, in a partnership with the Chicago Housing Authority, to obtain the final City zoning and funding approvals for the imminent construction of the John Pennycuff Memorial Apartments at Castillo Plaza. This mixed-use project will contain 88 affordable, LGBQT-friendly units, with 44 of these units being dedicated to CHA applicants.
After more than a decade of delays, Alderman Moreno was able to work with the CHA to finalize the revitalization of the Julia C. Lathrop Homes. He has worked with the development group, the Lathrop Community Partners, to ensure all the necessary City and financial approvals were in place so Phase 1A of the redevelopment project could finally begin construction earlier this year. This phase will deliver 242 CHA and affordable units to the Logan Square community, with the first units being delivered in August of 2018
The Neighborhood Lending Program
The City of Chicago and Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS), provide first and second mortgage loans for the purchase and purchase/rehab of 1-4 units for homeowners who might otherwise not be able to purchase a home. Subsidy resources are also available to eligible households to complement mortgage loans. Clients receive one-on-one counseling and classroom instruction in budgeting, financial planning and credit repair. For more information on this program please click here.
A Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC) program offered through the City of Chicago entitles first-time home buyers to a federal income tax credit. A tax credit is a direct reduction of taxes due. Under the program, a home buyer would receive an MCC to reduce income taxes by an amount equal to 20% of the interest paid on a mortgage. The tax credit is available each year the homebuyer continues to live in a home financed under this program. For more information please click here.
Community Land Trusts (CLTs)
CLTs are another tool afforded to developers in order to increase affordable housing options, commercial space, and expand park-lands. CLT can be used to promote home ownership and historic preservation as well. The modern community land trust model was developed in the 1960’s in order to hold land for the common good. Today, land trust works by a group, organization, or company purchasing a property in order to earmark the land to individuals through long-term land leases. Currently, the City of Chicago is in the process of implementing a city-wide community land trust to create more affordable housing in our neighborhoods.