Kevin Jackson, the Executive Director of the Chicago Rehab Network, returns to our show for an update on Chicago’s multi-faceted plans to provide low-income housing for thousands of income-challenged citizens.
“It’s essentially structural racism that’s at the heart of the reasons we have such difficulties with our housing,” he begins. “People couldn’t live in certain places.”
In 2018, he asserts, “the greatest need remaining for the city is rental housing because of what people are making. And there are strategies that could be dealt with that enhance rental stability.”
Jackson and his colleagues have appeared recently before City Council panels and made numerous public statements about the need for affordable rentals, but it isn’t entirely clear whether the developers, who ultimately influence the big decisions, are all that sympathetic.
Jackson tells us that a big change in government responses began taking shape about 35 years ago. “Before that what was going on he had a much stronger government response,” he explains. “In the ‘70s some of the programs there was a lot of hope that we were focused on lessening this gap of people struggling to afford a place to live. And come in to the ‘80s, the Reagan era we start to see this across the board reduction of that level of support and then ends up with a tax credit, which is a great tool but it doesn’t serve, your developers will tell you, it serves more around people who make 60%, 80%, 50% of median income. It’s not serving that $15 level.”
The City responded with the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, which brought some benefits to the chronically under-employed. “It was one of the things that we called for increasing because yesterday the city just put into the City Council the next five-year housing plan. And our recommendations at the Chicago Rehab Network was well let’s take that Low Income Housing Trust Fund and serve three times as many families at least if not more, because it’s such a good tool,” Jackson reveals.
There’s no indication how whether the measure stands a chance fore the City Council, especially since we’re about to enter such a volatile election with no clear Mayoral front-runner and dozens of Aldermanic challengers.
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