MPC commends Affordable Requirements Ordinance update, encourages City to explore additional improvements - Metropolitan Planning Council

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MPC commends Affordable Requirements Ordinance update, encourages City to explore additional improvements

The Metropolitan Planning Council commends the City of Chicago for working with real estate developers and housing advocates to update the Affordable Requirements Ordinance to help bridge Chicago’s considerable gap between the location and supply of affordable housing and the demand. MPC encourages the City to explore additional ways to increase the number of affordable homes near jobs, public transportation and quality schools, for instance through state incentives.

“The Affordable Requirements Ordinance has been a one-size-fits-all policy, through which very few affordable units have been built in developments located in strong housing markets, near good jobs, quality schools and reliable transportation options,” said MPC Program Director Marisa Novara. “The Metropolitan Planning Council applauds the proposal for creating new incentives and requirements that developers build a portion of the required affordable units on site in profitable markets. By making this change, Chicago would send an important message that where affordable homes are located matters.”

MPC acknowledges that even with proposed changes, the total number of affordable homes gained is still quite small. For example, in a 100-unit building, under the reformed proposal, the required number of on-site units would range from three to five. 

MPC is exploring additional ways the City can provide incentives for the development of affordable homes in strong markets. For example, in cities like New York, gains have been much greater when, in return for a tax abatement, developers are required to produce 20 percent of their total units as on-site affordable units. In that same 100-unit building, the city gains 20 affordable homes near jobs, transit and schools.

“In a city with notorious segregation, we have to develop a multi-pronged approach to truly bridge the gap between the location and supply of affordable homes and the demand,” said Novara. “Housing development is expensive and complex, and we need to consider multiple ways to provide incentives and opportunities to develop homes in stable neighborhoods.”

For more information, contact MPC Communications Director Mandy Burrell at mburrell@metroplanning.org or 773.640.1206, or MPC Program Director Marisa Novara at mnovara@metroplanning.org or 773.750.7472.

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