We saw very few examples of successful policies that worked in a high-rise context. And since a large share of the development in Chicago, then as now, was in downtown high-rises, we needed to find some way to get buy-in from high-rises…. So, given these difficulties — and given the CDCs’ thirst to capitalize a housing trust fund that could significantly expand their efforts at helping low-income families in neighborhoods (rather than moderate-income singles downtown), we went with the “cash-out” provision that pretty much exempts downtown high-rises.
It’s not that long, but it’s a bit hard to summarize, so you should just read it.
In addition to the high-rise issue, Payton points out – as Alex Block pointed out in comments in the original post – that affordable housing advocates generally have one (or both) of two not entirely compatible goals: 1) to create affordable units in high-rent or gentrifying communities as a way to promote integration, and 2) to create as many units as posssible, which frequently means creating them in already poor neighborhoods, making segregation worse.
My preferences lean towards goal 1, because of the evidence I’ve seen that concentrated poverty is just an overpowering disaster for everyone involved. But goal 2, when there are lots and lots of people who need housing they can afford, isn’t ridiculous.
That said, goal 2 isn’t close to being met, either. The Chicago Rehab Networks’ quarterly housing reports suggest that over the past several years, the city has produced somewhere between one and two thousand affordable units, total, across all programs. Again, given that the need stretches into the hundreds of thousands of units, we’re just not even close – even if we don’t care that the vast majority of those units are being produced in areas that already have concentrated poverty.
Chicago’s subsidized housing policy – like its market-rate housing policy – is still just completely broken. One way to help IZ – that would make progress on both integration and increasing the total number of units produced – would be to allow more medium- and large-scale market housing building in areas where it’s demanded, so the IZ ordinance is triggered much more often. (Recall that it only applies to buildings with at least 10 residential units.) I strongly suspect – although here Payton is certainly more informed – that there is room to raise the opt-out penalty without making a huge amount of market rate construction no longer workable, so that more builders choose to create the units themselves, and even those who don’t help create even more units elsewhere.
Anyone here who wants to talk to me like I’m stupid about residential development finance?