Bring Chicago Home (BCH), a grassroots advocacy organization within the City of Chicago wants to provide a potential solution to the affordable housing crisis in Chicago, by proposing a restructuring of a current tax fund to be reinvested in Chicago neighborhoods through affordable housing initiatives.
Last Wednesday, outside of City Hall, advocates and elected officials demonstrated support and spoke to the importance of this policy solution. BCH aims to restructure the Real Estate Transfer Tax (RETT), a one-time tax on properties when they are sold, to create a new, substantial, and legally dedicated revenue stream to provide permanently affordable housing. RETT would only be applied to properties one million dollars and over and the funding would then be used to housing for all of those in need and would provide long-term funding that will outlast the one-time federal funds from the American Rescue plan dedicated to addressing the housing crisis. BCH hopes to encourage residents to get involved in this initiative by reaching out to their Alderman/Alderwoman for their Ward in support of this initiative.
Bring Chicago Home (BCH) has cited that the pandemic has had a lasting economic impact on the homelessness trend that the city already experiences. Before the pandemic, 77,000 people experienced homelessness, particularly within the BIPOC communities. Chicagoans who identify as Black make up 61% of the population experiencing homelessness, and 82% of homeless students in Chicago Public Schools are Black. Bring Chicago Home (BCH) predicts that this number will increase, particularly as the Illinois Eviction Moratorium is set to be lifted within the next few weeks.
“This is an issue of racial inequities. The burdens of history, structural racism, and current economic disparities caused the majority of people experiencing homelessness in Chicago to look like me, they’re Black… we now have a chance to help rectify [these disparities]. This resolution will hurt no one but help so many.” says Rev. Dr. Jacqueline Triche Atkins, pastor at Christ Universal Temple on the south side of Chicago.
Alderwoman Maria Hadden of the 49th Ward reintroduced this resolution on behalf of Bring Chicago Home (BCH) in the City Council. “This sounds like justice-we have a solution; we have a community that is working to end homelessness. We want to work with the City to ensure that we have a solution and that we are going to Bring Chicago Home” says Alderwoman Maria Hadden.
Bring Chicago Home (BCH) is a coalition of people experiencing homelessness and housing instability, as well as community, policy, and direct-service organizations, who are dedicated to addressing homelessness and the lack of affordable housing in Chicago. Their priority is to create a dedicated revenue stream to combat homelessness in Chicago. BCH members include Communities United, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, ONE Northside, SEIU Healthcare – IL and IN, and United Working Families. Since 2018, BCH has worked to create dedicated revenue to combat homelessness in Chicago while also working with community members to take the necessary steps toward undoing centuries of systemic racism that have created barriers for people in accessing what they need to survive and thrive, including housing. To learn more about Bring Chicago Home and to get involved, please visit https://www.bringchicagohome.org/get-involved/ or follow them on social media @BringChicagoHome.
Chante’ Gamby is a writer passionate about social justice and empowering others to live their healthiest lives. You can follow her on Facebook at Fringefam, Instagram@fringegram, or on her website, www.fringefam.com.