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Low-Income Housing Trust Fund

Chicago, Cook County

Managed by a board of directors appointed by the mayor and comprised of representatives from city government, nonprofit organizations and private corporations, the Chicago Low-Income Housing Trust Fund (CLIHTF) offers two programs in the city of Chicago. The Rental Subsidy Program (RSP) provides annual agreements to building throughout the city of Chicago for rental subsidies to assist households living below 30 percent of area median income (AMI), which in 2014 was $23,850. The Multi-Year Affordability through Upfront Investment (MAUI) program makes long-term loans/grants to rental properties to create affordability for low-income tenants in a given number of units.


To provide affordable rental housing to low-income residents.


Households below 30 percent AMI, including special populations such as homeless individuals, people living with HIV/AIDS and seniors.


  • City of Chicago corporate funds and Chicago’s Affordable Housing Opportunity Fund monies totaling $8.5 million.
  • Illinois Rental Housing Support Program added another $8.1 million toward the Trust Fund.


The Trust Fund provided approximately 2,700 households with affordable housing through its Rental Subsidy Program and created 68 units of affordable housing through the MAUI program in 2013.

Lessons learned

CLIHTF signs annual agreements with landlords through its RSP. In turn, the program distributes funds to landlords in advance on a quarterly basis. This assures residents that reductions in their rental costs will remain stable. The Trust Fund agreements are with the property and fund a maximum of one-third of the units in a given property.


The Chicago Low-Income Housing Trust Fund (CLIHTF) is a nonprofit organization incorporated in 1990 to manage rental assistance programs to meet the permanent housing needs of Chicago’s poorest residents. Managed by a board of directors appointed by the mayor and comprised of representatives of city government, nonprofit organizations and private corporations, the Trust Fund develops agreements with building owners and developers who agree to reduce rents to accommodate very low-income households.

How it works

CLIHTF operates two different programs. It is best known for the Rental Subsidy Program (RSP), which receives a majority of the Trust Fund’s resources and covers the difference between the rent that low-income tenants can afford to pay and reasonable, market-based rent. Rents are reduced for a specified number of units in a building so they may be affordable to tenants with annual household incomes not exceeding 30 percent of the area median income ($23,850 for a family of four in 2014). Both nonprofit and for-profit landlords can participate in the program, and property types include single-family homes, two flats, multi-unit apartment buildings and single-room occupancy developments. By the end of 2013, the Trust Fund had appropriated funding to support 2,691 units of housing throughout Chicago, with estimates of more than 5,400 individuals being served by the program. Additionally, the Trust Fund continues to partner closely with landlords participating in the RSP, conducting nearly 3,000 health and safety assessments during the year.

The Multi-Year Affordability through Upfront Investment (MAUI) program receives the remainder of the Trust Fund’s resources. MAUI supports the development of affordable rental housing by providing long-term replacement financing to property owners. The savings in debt reduction are then passed on to benefit very low-income families through rent reductions.

Half of the assisted units generated by the Trust Fund are targeted to households earning no more than 15 percent of the area median income (about $10,860 for a family of four in 2014), and approximately 40 percent of the Trust Fund’s subsidies are directed toward special initiatives, including assisting homeless families leaving shelters, people living with HIV/AIDS, female headed households in job training programs and veterans.


Department of Planning and Development, City of Chicago
312-744-4190, www.cityofchicago.org

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