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Two Essential Housing Bills Await Governor’s Signature

Gov. Rod Blagojevich has shown tremendous leadership on housing issues, embodied most recently with “Building for Success: Illinois’ Comprehensive Housing Plan ."  The Illinois General Assembly has now delivered to the governor two pieces of legislation – the Rental Housing Support Program and the extension of the Housing Tax Credit -- that will advance the priorities outlined in his housing plan.

Click here to see MPC’s letter urging the governor to sign these bills.

Click here to download a more general, sample letter.

Both Senate Bill 75, creating the Rental Housing Support Program, and House Bill 603, extending the Housing Tax Credit program, passed out of the Illinois General Assembly with bipartisan support.

Addressing the governor’s commitment to improve housing options available to people earning less than 30 percent of Area Median Income, it is estimated that the Rental Housing Support Program will provide $30 million annually in rental subsidies to 5,500 of the state’s most vulnerable households. The rent subsidies will make housing affordable for people earning, on average, less that $19,000 per year, many of who are at great risk of becoming homeless. Numerous studies, including MPC’s own Regional Rental Market Analysis , have documented the profound mismatch between the supply and demand for housing for households at this income level.  To pay for this precious resource, the legislation increases the  fee for filing real estate documents by $10. One dollar of each fee will go to county government budgets and to county Recorders of Deeds to pay for any administrative costs related to the collecting the fee. The other nine dollars will be administered by the Illinois Housing Development Authority, and available to eligible applicants statewide.

The Illinois Housing Tax Credit, created in 2002 as a five-year initiative to provide tax relief to corporations investing in affordable housing, addresses the governor’s commitment to innovative partnerships that leverage public and private sector dollars.  A set-aside for those investing in employer-assisted housing has also been a key component of this legislation.   Analyzing the success of this program , key stakeholders began working with legislators to advance the renewal of this bill prior to the conclusion of the pilot -- -thus ensuring that developers and employers creating housing plans now could budget an affordable housing investment that will yield the tax credit in the years ahead.  To see MPC’s letter of support for this strategy, click here .

There is no panacea for bridging the widening affordability gap between supply and demand in Illinois’ housing market.  But the governor’s comprehensive housing plan outlines a number of essential strategies.  These two pieces of legislation, both central to MPC's own Policy Agenda , are among them.

 

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