June 8, 2018

Mayor Emanuel Announces Innovative Initiative To Create New Affordable Housing Option For Low-Income Chicagoans

Request for Information Issued to Explore Viability of Tiny Homes in Chicago

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced an initiative to create new affordable housing options in neighborhoods across Chicago. On Friday the Department of Planning and Development issued a Request for Information (RFI) to evaluate the viability of tiny homes in Chicago. The RFI specifically seeks proposals with a focus on the potential for tiny homes to serve residents experiencing homelessness and seniors in the city.

“Every Chicagoan should have a place to call home, period,” Mayor Emanuel said. “These innovative homes have the potential to create affordable and permanent housing options for some of Chicago’s most vulnerable residents.”

Tiny homes are stand-alone structures that contain minimally-sized living areas, sleeping spaces, kitchens and bathrooms. The homes are designed to support targeted populations, including the chronically homeless, low-income residents, seniors, and individuals desiring minimal space for daily needs.

The RFI is seeking responses from housing developers, non-profit housing agencies and related entities to help the City assess the viability of tiny homes within the context of local neighborhoods, the municipal code and affordable housing resources. Responses should include estimated development costs not to exceed $2 million, target populations, sites and the rationale for any proposed changes to the City’s zoning ordinance.

The initiative will be supported by funding from the City’s fee on house sharing companies like Airbnb and the Affordable Housing Opportunity Fund, which receives fees paid by developers.

The purpose of the RFI is to help the City gather information and determine next steps. The complete RFI can be downloaded at www.cityofchicago.org/tinyhomes. RFI responses must be received by 5 p.m. on Friday, July 13, 2018. Submissions will be accepted via email or at DPD offices at City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle St., Room 1000, Chicago, Illinois.

“I am excited about the opportunity to increase affordable housing options in this innovative way,” Nonie Brennan, CEO of All Chicago said. “As partners with the City, we appreciate their willingness to explore all ideas in the quest to increase affordable housing in Chicago.”

Since Mayor Emanuel took office in 2011, the City of Chicago has increased funding for homeless initiatives by more than 10 percent and invested in new programs targeting veterans, youth, families and victims of domestic violence.

As part of the City of Chicago’s 2018 Budget, Mayor Emanuel announced an additional $1 million investment to help support Chicago’s shelter infrastructure, a critical investment to support capacity and maintain the City’s shelter system. This investment will help programs operate more effectively and efficiently, while providing the needed services for the clients to thrive. This increase will allow shelters to better support program operational costs, hire additional case managers, and connect individuals experiencing homelessness with permanent housing solutions.

Recognizing that the solution to homelessness is housing, Mayor Emanuel, together with the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) and the Center for Supportive Housing, created the innovative Flexible Housing Subsidy Pool (FHSP). The one-of-a-kind supportive housing rental subsidy model combines both housing/rental subsidy expertise and intensive case management to effectively house residents who are experiencing homelessness. 

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