Feigenholtz: Landmark affordable housing legislation will help keep families in their homes

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago) is celebrating passage of a landmark affordable housing package meant to address one of Illinois’ biggest challenges. The measure, which Feigenholtz help move through the Senate, was sponsored by State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago).

“Illinois has a severe shortage of affordable housing, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the number of people facing housing insecurity,” Feigenholtz said. “As of 2019, Illinois was short nearly 108,000 rental homes individuals earning 60% of their local area median income could afford. In Chicago, this is about $56,000 for a family of four. By offering tax incentives, we will be able to keep families together, in their homes and in their communities.”

House Bill 2621 has several provisions aimed at securing affordable housing statewide. One aspect of the legislation stems from legislation Feigenholtz sponsored earlier in the year that would provide an incentive to landlords by reducing the assessed value of properties where 15% to 35% of units offer rent at or below market value for 10 years.

“This policy is a one-stop-shop to address affordable rental needs in both higher cost and lower cost neighborhoods,” said Stacie Young, Director of the Preservation Compact.

“The provisions in the bill will help reduce Illinois’ significant shortage of affordable rental housing and provide tools to preserve affordable housing in communities where it’s being lost due to increasing rents and property values,” added Bob Palmer from Housing Action Illinois.

The affordable rent provision has a wide list of supporters, including advocacy groups, the City of Chicago, Cook County and several Chicago alderpersons.

“The City of Chicago is facing a decades-long housing crisis,” said Alderman Daniel La Spata. “We have been needing Springfield to create powerful tools for affordable housing, and this legislation provides us with a solution to offer local landlords the incentives they need to prevent displacement and keep long-standing tenants in their homes.”

Another provision of the legislation is the COVID-19 Affordable Housing Grant Program, which would supplement affordable housing developments that qualify for all tax credits throughout the state. The package received unanimous support in the Senate and now returns to the Illinois House of Representatives for concurrence with Senate amendments.