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Home / US / How Chicago’s affordable housing system continues the city’s long history of isolation

How Chicago’s affordable housing system continues the city’s long history of isolation



Chicago-Over the past two decades, government-supported affordable housing in Chicago has been largely limited to the most impoverished black-majority residential areas. This design has allowed the city’s long history of isolation to continue.

As these communities continue to face increasing divestments, gun violence and food shortages, the lack of affordable housing in other parts of the city limits the departure of many people of color.

But now, Chicago wants to use the largest federal housing fund reserve at present, and wants to draw a corrective path by actively promoting the purchase of more affordable housing in the city’s high-income, resource-rich areas, and housing experts say this Will unlock previously unavailable opportunities for colored communities in housing.

Chicago Housing Commissioner Marisa Novara (Marisa Novara) said that the city has adjusted the qualified distribution plan to encourage developers to have higher incomes in the city, a higher standard of living, and traditionally combine lower-income people with Some areas where people of color are excluded, put forward proposals for new affordable housing. She added that New York City intends to achieve this goal by paying more to acquire land in these areas.

Earlier this month, the city announced the results of a self-conducted racial equality impact assessment that examined how existing or proposed plans, policies, or decisions might affect different races and ethnic groups.

Although these assessments are not new, Chicago stated that this is the first time a city has actively assessed its racial rights when receiving federal funds from the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program. This is the city’s largest Sources of funds. The new affordable housing in the United States.

The assessment shows that the city’s low-income taxation plan has developed or retained approximately 1

0,000 low-income units in the city since 2000, and 60% of the funds have been used in high-poor areas.

However, when broken down by race, the distribution is obvious.

Construction on the Wolf Point East Tower apartment at Pelli Clarke Pelli in Chicago, Illinois on March 31, 2019.Raymond Boyd/Getty Images File

Most low-income projects in Chicago are new buildings in high-poverty, black-majority areas, and a quarter are located in higher-income “opportunity” areas, although only 35% of urban areas have a black majority.

Although 30% of Chicago is predominantly white, less than 20% of the units live in predominantly white neighborhoods. The evaluation pointed out that although more than 20% of the population of all census tracts in Chicago are Latino, only 6% of the units are developed in most Latino population areas.

“It’s notorious that Chicago is one of the most remote cities in terms of race and income. In most black communities, we have a disproportionate number of affordable rental homes because, fundamentally, our biggest source of racism is anti-racism. Black racism. This is how we operate as a country.” Novara said. “Because of the fear and racism that prevents blacks from spreading to other parts of the city, more and more houses are being built to the south and west.”

The city said that using these shocking data, it will actively adjust the parameters of the low-income housing tax credit program by adjusting the development of resource-rich and facility-rich areas to reflect segregation, thereby providing residents with more choices. And liquidity.

New York City will allocate $61 million for low-income tax credit development projects in 2022 and 2023, and has already solicited public comment on developer applications before April 15.

The low-income housing tax credit program started in 1986 and accounts for about 90% of all affordable housing in the country. The program operates under the Ministry of Finance, and the program provides tax incentives to encourage developers to build affordable housing. These tax credits are allocated to states (and in some cases, cities such as Chicago) based on population size, and are allocated based on the needs of affordable housing through a qualified allocation planning process, which can be used as a developer’s application.

The low-income tax credit program is different from Section 8 or public housing. Generally, “set aside tax credit units for families whose income does not exceed 60% or less of the local average income and rent does not exceed 30% of the highest income level, and the owner must meet the affordability requirement for at least 15 years” according to budget and policy Priority center.

In Chicago, which is adjusted according to family size, to be eligible, a family of three must have an income of $49,140 or less to meet this standard.

However, the city’s distribution plan also allows two other options for adjusting the median income requirement, including one that can be afforded by households whose income does not exceed 50% of the median income.

Shamus Roller, executive director of the National Housing Law Project, said that, apart from some general guidelines, the federal government did not provide much guidance on how to raise funds.

“The federal government has no regulations on the location of a city or how many houses or anything else to build in a higher opportunity area, so in fact, most of the cases are nationwide, and developers make decisions based on these decisions. He said: “Our property is built there. “For them, a driving factor is that the price of buying land in poor areas is often higher, but if you try to put it in poor areas, then you will also encounter real racial and class discrimination, which may lead to Discourage some from construction. “

This problem is widespread throughout the country. According to data from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, tax credit housing is disproportionately concentrated in poorer and ethnically concentrated communities across the country. Only 15% of the tax credit units are in low-poor communities, while at least half of the residents of 56% of the communities are people of color, and only 40% of all rental units.

Tracy Hadden Loh, a researcher on housing segregation at the Brookings Institution, said: “This not only reflects an extremely unique problem that is happening in Chicago, it’s also just A mystery of segregation.” This is a particularly important link, because in the United States, apartheid is as serious as apartheid, and if it is combined with income segregation, it will exacerbate this inequality. “

Luh said: “If black people are restricted to a specific community and then targeted by certain policies (such as over-vigilance), this is a problem,” Lu said, “and policies can also preserve such things as getting quality jobs. Things like that, high-quality food or open space, because this is just a level of the way that structural disadvantages are concentrated, and amplifies the way all these influences are gathered.”

Loh added that if state or local governments are looking for ways to reduce segregation, using tax credit housing (such as Chicago) is a good starting point.

Lu said: “This is one of the things that the public sector can actually exert leverage.”

The benefits of these initiatives may be far-reaching.

A groundbreaking housing study conducted by Harvard University economist Raj Chetty found that families with children under 13 can move to impoverished areas if they have experimental coupons, while those who do not move More likely to go to college and get a higher average income. In fact, by the mid-1920s, income had grown by about 31%. Research shows: “These children also live in better communities as adults and are less likely to become single parents.”

Although the idea seems ideal in theory, the reality is more challenging for similar integration plans.

Ann Lott, vice president of housing programs for the Inclusive Community Project, is committed to fair and affordable housing programs in high-opportunity areas in the Dallas area. The result is race.

She said: “They think affordable housing is equivalent to low-income black housing, and that’s what they are against.” “They might argue that it is not, but when we start reading their blogs and reading their social media posts , Usually full of ethnicity.”

Housing advocates in Chicago say they are cautiously optimistic about the city’s plans to promote mixed-income housing.

Andrea Juracek, executive director of Housing Choice Partners, a Chicago non-profit housing organization, said that in the past, local leadership has played a role in stopping inclusive housing programs.

She said: “In our self-evident racist city and all these dog barking politics, there is such a legacy, but it is great to see the commitment at the city level.” “Changing thoughts and concepts is one thing. It’s true, but this is a systematic change that needs to be made, and this seems to be the beginning.”


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