photo by Colin Davis
Since the Polar Vortex, there has been a push being made by the organizers of Bring Chicago Home to move their resolution to introduce a one-time 4% tax on property sales over one million dollars out of the City Council Finance Committee. It has yet to be heard after its introduction last October.
Bring Chicago Home is a coalition comprised of people experiencing homelessness and community, policy and direct-service organizations dedicated to addressing homelessness in Chicago.
“Now is the time to focus on long-term, permanent solutions to homelessness,” Doug Schenkelberg, Executive Director of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless said. “The Bring Chicago Home resolution sits in the City Council Finance Committee, waiting to be heard. This resolution would move forward a proposal to raise the city’s real estate transfer tax on properties worth more than $1 million and would generate millions in new revenue, all dedicated to permanent housing and services for those experiencing homelessness.”
The one-time marginal tax would generate $150 million annually, and according to polling in April 2018, has the support of two-thirds of likely city voters.
The money generated by the tax would be legally dedicated to programs that alleviate homelessness, including assistance for homeless children, homeless veterans, and homeless women recovering from domestic violence.
This is a long-term solution to a problem that doesn’t just occur during an extreme weather event. Capitalizing on the attention brought by the many acts of generosity that happened last week, like realtor Candice Payne’s well-publicized renting of 20 rooms at the Amber Inn in Bronzeville.
“Whether it is 25 below zero or a beautiful spring day, no one should be homeless,” Schenkelberg said. “Let’s move the incredible energy and compassion we saw this past week to bigger solutions.”
The numbers are staggering: according to Bring Chicago Home, 8,068 families and individuals could receive permanent supporting housing, and 27,780 households could receive resources that would prevent them from experiencing homelessness.
Bring Chicago Home is asking for constituents to let their alderpeople know they support the initiative so it can be brought to the city council floor. It would then be a referendum in an upcoming election.
Daniel Johanson (he/him) is a journalist and digital media specialist living in Chicago, Illinois. He serves as Editor-in-Chief at Scapi and in that capacity manages all things content, including writing and editing articles and producing digital content. His most recent work includes the docuseries Heart of a Nation: Tracking Socialism in the Midwest and co-hosting the podcast Scapi Radio. He spends his free time with cats.