A Chicago Housing Authority reform ordinance is getting a subject matter hearing, but no vote, in the Housing and Real Estate Committee February 17th. The ‘Keeping the Promise’ Ordinance, which calls for tighter Council oversight of the Chicago Housing Authority, has been sitting in the doldrums for months, but was the subject of a BGA profile over the weekend. Staff for Ald. Joe Moore (49) sent out a notice on the hearing midday Monday.
Moore, the chair of City Council’s Committee on Housing and Real Estate, and once a sponsor of the ordinance, has been under pressure from the Chicago Housing Initiativeto hold a hearing since the summer, when the ordinance was re-introduced. The group accused Moore in September of delaying the hearing and backtracking on his support, which he denied at the time. He told BGA he no longer supports the ordinance because it would have “unintended consequences.”
Leah Levinger, Executive Director of the Chicago Housing Initiative says the organization has plans to demonstrate outside Ald. Pat Dowell (3) and Ald. Gregory Mitchell’s (7) offices today for their “failure to sign on to the Keeping the Promise Ordinance despite repeated approaches over the last 12-24 months.”
In a Facebook post, Ald. Joe Moreno (1), the ordinance’s chief sponsor, said he’s “proud to lead this effort and I will keep working hard to increase access to affordable housing opportunities in my ward and throughout Chicago.”
Moreno blasted Ald. Scott Waguespack (32) at last week’s Plan Commission hearingfor not pressing developers to include on-site affordable housing at a new residential building. The development group opted to pay an in-lieu fee to the city. Ald. Waguespack was not at the meeting.
The ordinance calls for quarterly reports from the CHA on several items, including accumulated unspent revenue, progress reports on replacement public housing units, and updates on the Housing Choice Voucher Funding utilization rate. The ordinance also includes a provision for one-for-one replacement of affordable housing units that are demolished or converted to another use, and suspension of the use of city funds until CHA effectively uses its Housing Choice Voucher revenue and increases its commitment to mobility counseling for those voucher holders.