Both the Rental Housing Support bill and extension of the Illinois Affordable Housing Tax Credit are now law.
History was made in Illinois this month, when the
governor signed into law the Rental Housing Support bill and the extension of the Illinois Affordable Housing Tax Credit,
unprecedented leadership on state
housing issues from this year’s legislature and Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
historic? Just over five years ago, when the
Metropolitan Planning Council released For
Rent: Housing Options in the Chicago Region to inform public policy in
advance of the 2000 U.S. Census, a few
key findings jumped out. Most alarming was the fact that there were fewer than 40,000 apartments
in the private market that were affordable to households earning less that 30 percent Area Median
Income in the six-county region ... and that close to 200,000 households were competing for
those homes. The numbers since then
have only gotten worse.
Also of grave concern were the numbers illustrating a growing mismatch
between the location of jobs and population growth, and the availability of
housing affordable. Not only did
the rental housing stock shrink in a decade when jobs increased by 16 percent
and population by 11 percent, but homes affordable to the workforce were
increasingly far from jobs and transportation.
Among the most noteworthy findings of that study was
that, compared to other metropolitan areas, theChicago region was underproducing. Traditional models of supply and demand
were not at work. At the time, many
people explained that phenomenon by pointing out that we have over 270
municipalities making housing policy in this region, and that we had no state
policy to guide or support them.
Others pointed to the lack of community acceptance.
that’s all changed. Not only did this governor
sign an executive order in late 2003 creating the state’s first housing policy,
but he appointed a Task Force to help him transform that policy into a usable
plan. Released in January of this
year, Building for Success: Illinois' Comprehensive Housing Plan
provides meaningful leadership and support. These two bills are
consistent with the plan, and illustrate the governor's committment to housing
the state's neediest individuals and families,
Directly addressing the needs of households earning less
than 30 percent Area Median Income (around $19,000 for a family of four),
the Rental Housing Support Program creates
a new $10 county recordation fee,
to generate about $30 million annually for
rent subsidies for approximately 5,500 extremely low-income households across
Illinois -- including seniors, people with disabilities, and families on the
brink of homelessness.
The Illinois Housing Tax Credit
, created in 2002 as a five-year
initiative to provide tax relief to corporations investing in affordable
housing, exemplifies the kinds of innovative partnerships that leverage critical
private sector dollars. A set-aside for those investing in employer-assisted
housing has also been a key component of this legislation.
of these initiatives were widely supported by a range of stakeholders, a group
that has expanded and become more sophisticated thanks to a number of
initiatives in the last five years, including the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus Housing Task Force and Housing Illiniois.
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: The Rental Housing
Support Bill and extension of the Illinois Affordable Housing Tax Credit - -
both central to MPC’s own Policy
Agenda -- were among them. Hats
off to everyone who helped make history with advent of this