New Illinois Law Boosts Affordable Housing Construction, Rehab

Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Thursday signed into law measures to increase affordable housing and to expand access to a state energy program for low-income residents.

The Democrat's action included creating a grant program to encourage construction and rehabilitation of affordable rental housing in areas hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Illinois Housing Development Authority will use $75 million in federal pandemic-relief money. It will go toward multifamily dwellings to keep rent affordable for those with lower incomes.

Pritzker administration officials say it includes housing that qualifies for federal low-income housing tax credits. It should cover the building and rehabbing of 3,500 rental homes and apartments by the end of 2024.

Another part of the law encourages affordable housing preservation with reductions in assessed property valuation after improvements. It also extends a program begun in 2001 that provides a 50% tax credit for donations of money or real estate to affordable housing developments and strengthens state law requiring cities with insufficient affordable housing stock to develop plans.

The other law Pritzker signed makes families with children a priority for the state's low-income energy assistance program. It also expands access to LIHEAP — for Low-Income Heating and Energy Assistance Program — to undocumented residents.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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