CRN Comments on Progressive Caucus Task Force Hearing

January 22, 2020

TO: The IL House Progressive Caucus' Housing Task Force. Representative Ramirez and Leader Harris, Rep. Feigenholtz, Rep. Cassidy, and Rep. Mah.

From: Kevin F. Jackson, Executive Director

Thank you for the opportunity to meet with you today and present “our solutions to current housing issues.” CRN’s unique role for 43 years is demonstrated in our strategic work to build the capacity of the community development field, promote accountability in policy, and grow Chicago’s vibrant network of housing stakeholders and allies. Through collaboration and ongoing dedication to the development of affordable housing, we envision a Chicago and the state of Illinois with strong communities supported by the foundation of affordable, secure homes. Thank you for your interest, and I look forward to discussing our mutual goal of safe, affordable communities. Today we suggest three proposals for your consideration:

Create an exemption (or abatement, freeze, rebate, etc) for affordable housing owned by 501(c) 3 and LLCs with nonprofit sponsors. This will provide stability in communities and preserve the stock of affordable housing. With government assisted housing such as affordable developments funded with the low income housing tax credit (LIHTC) or HOME funds there are limits on how much rents can increase annually. If property taxes go up, they cannot be covered by rents, which places the whole affordable property in jeopardy. This situation has a ripple effect in the entire community. It is of the utmost importance that policies are created at the state level to support these affordable properties. Any legislative efforts to address property tax relief for the preservation or development of affordable housing should also include provisions to provide greater relief to those properties that are 100% affordable housing and owned by mission-based, nonprofit CDCs (community development corporations). Multiple states, counties and cities have implemented such clarifying language over the last decade. A second legislative proposal would strengthen nonprofit affordable housing providers' operations by establishing a community development tax credit program that provide 50 cent on the dollar for any investment over $50,000.00 modeled after the state of Massachusetts. Such legislation will build the local capacity and investment for local anchor housing institutions that will advance anti-displacement policies to decrease gentrification. Building capacity in local community and increasing resources for affordable housing is a win-win solution for all communities and a prime focus of the Chicago Rehab Network. Additionally, we would recommend policies that support cooperative housing as we have launched the Center for Shared Ownership in partnership with the Chicago Community loan Fund. For instance, authorize a fund that advances intentional affordability via land trusts and limited equity models and co-ops which control the cost of land and taxes. Share loans originating from the private sector financial market also should be encouraged and facilitated.

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