Affordable housing developments are getting a big boost in funding.
Chicago will invest $1 billion into the creation and preservation of 24 development projects, as a result of federal pandemic recovery money and the mayor’s 2022 budget. The move not only aims to bring more affordable housing to the city, but also looks to support developments led by people of color.
One of the projects on the list is in Morgan Park where developers are working to turn two acres of vacant land into a mixed-use development.
“This project is transformative, it’s catalytic. We believe that this is going to be a game changer for the far south side area and it's going to address the current housing need,” said Abraham Lacy, president and CEO of the Far South Community Development Corporation, which is leading the project.
The new Morgan Park Commons would consist of 390 units total, 250 of which will be both affordable and mixed-income housing. Lacy says the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) will help with phase one of the project which is building 80 units adjacent to South Halsted Street.
“It really is a part of saying how can we stand up entrepreneurs of color in the neighborhoods such that they now can participate in the revitalization of their own communities,” said Leon Walker, co-founder of the Chicago Emerging Minority Developer Initiative, an organization that seeks to get more developers of color in the industry, “We have been saying and demanding, asking, pleading for someone to come build something in our community to do something new in our neighborhoods, well now this begins the process of building capacity with the talent that already exists in the communities such that they can begin to execute their vision and help revitalize their own communities.”
According to Mayor Lightfoot and city leaders, 10 of the 24 developments on the list are BIPOC-led, all 24 will have BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) participation. The city conducted a racial equity impact assessment to reexamine how the city was granting LIHTC.
“One of the reasons why people depopulate is because they can't find affordable housing to live in, and so we need more housing development,” said Lacy
Lightfoot and city leaders call this investment in affordable housing the largest in Chicago’s history