TIF-funded development has helped create Chicago’s housing crisis, and TIF funds can be used to alleviate it, according to a coalition of housing groups.
The Sweet Home Chicago Coalition, calling for a portion of TIF funds to be dedicated to affordable housing, will march and rally in Humboldt Park tomorrow — highlighting two affordable developments built with TIF funds.
In a Wizard of Oz-themed event, residents and advocates will gather Thursday, 11:15 a.m. at God’s Army Church, 647 N. Kedzie, and follow “Dorothy” down a Yellow Brick Road representing TIF money.
They’ll pass the new Rosa Parks Apartments and rally at the Harold Washington Unity Cooperative, 649 N. Troy. Both are projects of the Bickerdike Redevelopment Corp., a coalition member, and both were built using a variety of financing, including TIF funds.
The coalition is calling on the city to devote 20 percent of annual TIF collections to affordable housing. According to a recent study by the coalition, only 4 percent of TIF funds went to affordable housing between 1995 and 2007.
The study found TIF development is “pricing out” neighborhood residents and strategies to reduce TIF-related displacement are inadequate. Many TIF-financed residential units considered affordable by regional standards are too expensive for neighborhood residents, it found.
It recommended that affordable housing funding be targeted to lower income levels, where the shortage of available housing is greatest.
Rosa Parks Apartments
Developed with a variety of public and private financing sources, the Rosa Parks Apartments offers apartments affordable to families earning 15, 30, and 50 percent of area median income.
The median income in Humboldt Park was about $28,000 for a family of four in 2000. According to the coalition’s study, the city’s standard for TIF funding for affordable rental housing is 60 percent of regional median income, or $45,000 for a family of four; and most affordable housing created by TIF set-asides was for-sale housing, where the standard was 100 percent of the regional median, or $75,000 for a family of four.
Rosa Parks is Bickerdike’s first comprehensively-planned green development, featuring a rooftop garden and geothermal and solar water systems. Construction is underway, and the first three six-flats were occupied this summer.
The 94-unit, $27.2 million project received $3.5 million in TIF funds. The 86-unit Harold Washington Co-op, a $17 million renovation occupied in 2007, received $1 million in TIF funds.
According to the study, out of nearly $3 billion in total TIF revenues, $127 million in TIF funds went to affordable housing from 1995 to 2007. The city’s TIF districts are currently estimated to have $1.3 billion.
Among Thursday’s speakers is Ald. Walter Burnett (27th Ward), who helped obtain financing for the Rosa Parks Apartments. Burnett is expected to sponsor an ordinance dedicating 20 percent of TIF funds to affordable housing targeted to city income levels.
A longstanding “mismatch between supply and demand” in the housing market has fueled “skyrocketing demand for affordable rental housing” — which presents “a chance to get people working right now,” commented Bickerdike executive director Joy Aruguete.