Is Sweet Home Chicago Dead? - NBC Chicago
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Is Sweet Home Chicago Dead?



    Is Sweet Home Chicago Dead?, Monika Thorpe

    The Sweet Home Chicago ordinance appears to be dead, at least for this City Council. At Wednesday’s council meeting, sponsor Walter Burnett didn’t call for a vote on the ordinance, which requires the city spend 20 percent of TIF dollars on affordable housing.

    Nor did Ald. Patrick O’Connor call for a vote on his competing ordinance, which makes affordable housing a non-binding “goal” for the city.

    According to Julie Dworkin of the Chicago Coalition of the Homeless, the ordinance’s supporters proposed a compromise of 15 percent, but that went nowhere, either.

    “The real story is the total stifling of democracy,” Dworkin told Progress Illinois after the non-vote. “Maybe there was not enough supporters for [Sweet Home] to pass, but for it never to have been voted on says a lot about how the city works.”

    Over at the Chicago Reporter, Alden Loury points out that aldermen who opposed the ordinance represent wards that have been hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis:

    [A] Chicago Reporter analysis shows that the needs are even greater in the wards of the 28 aldermen who voted to table a vote on the ordinance at the Feb. 9th council meeting. Among those wards, foreclosures have increased slightly higher than in the wards of aldermen who voted not to table the ordinance…In particular, 48th Ward Alderman Mary Ann Smith and 43rd Ward Alderman Vi Daley, both of whom are vacating their seats this spring, voted to table the ordinance despite their wards being ranked first and second in the increase of foreclosures from 2009 to 2010, according to foreclosure data from the Woodstock Institute.

    Sweet Home Chicago’s supporters will now have to focus on passing the bill in the next City Council, but its future prospects don’t look any better. Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel was the only candidate who spoke out against the ordinance.

     “TIF dollars can be used for affordable housing today,” Emanuel said during the debate at Kennedy-King College. “Before we put another burden on the TIFs, we need to reform the TIFs.”

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