Affordable homes or good schools - Metropolitan Planning Council

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Affordable homes or good schools

The recent article, "Adults-only housing makes sense for schools" (News, Nov. 13), neglected a key question: Is it wise for our region to favor homes that exclude families with children?

The answer is a resounding no.

A recent report from the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus and Chicago Metropolis 2020 calls for more and different types of homes for seniors, so that they can age in the communities where they raised their families. The same report also states the need for more homes for young, growing families and single wage earners, who often cannot afford traditional single-family homes and shop instead for apartments and condominiums. Meeting one sector's housing needs at the expense of another's is unsustainable.

Far too many communities in Illinois have either a healthy supply of affordable homes or good schools – not both. But a healthy community needs both. That's why in 2007, the Illinois General Assembly approved Good Housing Good Schools, which rewards communities with new or renovated, non-age restricted, multi-family housing developments by giving the local school district a bonus. For less than $1.5 million a year, Good Housing Good Schools could provide much-needed incentives to pay for quality teachers, while helping spur the creation of 1,200 new affordable homes.

The legislation remains unfunded.

At a time when homeownership is out of reach for so many in Illinois, incentives like these are worth it.

Robin Snyderman
Vice President for Community Development
Metropolitan Planning Council

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