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wttw: Proposal to Hike Taxes on Sales of Million-Dollar Homes to Fight Homelessness Gets City Hall Spotlight

By Heather Cherone, July 27, 2023

Members of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless rally in support of the Bring Chicago Home ordinance on Monday, Nov. 14, 2022. (Heather Cherone / WTTW News)

Backers of Bring Chicago Home had hoped to put the question on the February ballot, when Chicago voters went to the polls to elect a new City Council and mayor. But that push failed to clear its first hurdle, when only 25 City Council members attended a crucial meeting in November — one short of the requirement — in the face of intractable opposition from Lightfoot, who said it would be “spun as a property tax increase.”

That enraged advocates for unhoused Chicagoans.

While candidate Lightfoot backed Bring Chicago Home, less than six months after taking office, she said the proposal was dead, given Chicago’s precarious financial position.

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NBC 5 Chicago: Housing advocates push for City Council to enact a real estate transfer tax

By Charlie Wojciechowski, July 27, 2023

Just over two months after taking office, Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson is facing pressure to follow through on a major campaign promise.

Chanting “65K need a place to stay,” housing advocates gathered in the City Hall lobby Thursday afternoon, calling on Johnson to follow through on instituting a real estate transfer tax to improve city services by creating new streams of revenue.

The measure, called “Bring Chicago Home,” plans to pay for new, permanent housing for the the city's homeless population by almost tripling the city’s real estate transfer tax on homes valued at $1 million or more.

The so-called “mansion tax” is expected to generate $163 million a year.

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The Real Deal: All hands on deck: CRE lobby preps opposition to Chicago transfer tax hike

By Rachel Herzog, July 27, 2023

Instead, they’ve focused on persuading policymakers that a tax similar to the Bring Chicago Home proposal would damage the city’s real estate market while it already faces significant challenges with record office and retail vacancies in the city’s business hubs.

Lobbying groups are also unsure of the potential path that proponents of any legislation arising from Thursday’s discussion would favor taking with the proposal. The previous version was framed as a ballot initiative that a majority of city council could have sent to voters to decide in a referendum before it stalled. After the progressive Johnson’s election this spring, his ideological allies on the council may see promise in trying a similar route.

A spokesperson for Chicago’s Coalition for the Homeless, a group in support of the proposal it says would raise an average of $163 million annually, didn’t respond to questions about any proposed changes to the measure.

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WBEZ Chicago: There’s a surge in calls for shelter. Chicago’s 311 help line can’t keep up.

By Anna SavchenkoAmy Qin, June 1, 2023

“The demand for resources, be it through 311 to get people into a shelter or any other piece of the shelter system, is so much greater than what the system can handle,” said Douglas Schenkelberg, the director of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless.

Schenkelberg thinks Chicago should develop a long-term strategy to help both asylum-seekers arriving on the city’s doorstep and residents already on the streets. Otherwise, he said, the city “pits these two populations against each other.”

“We should focus on a single system,” Schenkelberg said, “that serves anyone who’s unhoused in the city of Chicago.”

In his mid-May inauguration speech, the former organizer for the Chicago Teachers Union promised to “Bring Chicago Home,” alluding to his support for an increased real estate transfer tax that would be used to fund homelessness prevention.

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WTTW: Chicago to Get Federal Help Fighting Homelessness, Officials Announce

By Heather Cherone, May 18, 2023

During his inaugural address on Monday, Mayor Johnson vowed to push through the proposal known as “Bring Chicago Home,” which would to hike taxes on the sales of properties worth $1 million or more in an effort to fight homelessness in Chicago.

The city will also use the new resources to help house Chicagoans returning from jails and prisons, those who have been involved in the criminal justice system, and those sheltering under highways, viaducts and bridges, according to the mayor’s office. 

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Block Club Chicago: Lincoln Square’s Diplomat Hotel Could Become Transitional Housing For People Experiencing Homelessness

By Alex V. Hernandez, May 16, 2023

Chicagoans have been looking for solutions. The Bring Chicago Home ordinance would increase the city’s real estate transfer taxes on sales of properties worth $1 million or more to fund homelessness services in the city.

The measure stalled last year after 25 City Council members ditched a meeting about it. Mayor Brandon Johnson campaigned on getting the measure passed and pledged his support for it during his inauguration speech Monday, saying, “We can do it, Chicago. We can bring Chicago home.”

Block Club Chicago: Northwest Side Tent City Residents Get Housing After Kennedy Expressway Construction Forces Them Out

By Mina Bloom, May 12, 2023

The effort underlines the importance of the Bring Chicago Home ordinance, Ramirez-Rosa said. The ordinance, which has been in the works since 2018, calls for hiking the city’s real transfer taxes on sales of properties worth $1 million or more to fund homelessness services in the city.

The effort stalled last year when not enough alderpeople showed up for a City Council hearing.

Telemundo Chicago: Johnson propone planes para mejorar cuidado de la salud mental en Chicago

ByIris Berrios, May 11, 2023

Su plan para lograrlo es apoyar la campaña “Traer Chicago a casa” (“Bring Chicago Home), reformar la ordenanza de zonificación de la ciudad para permitir viviendas de apoyo y refugios por derecho, construcción de viviendas asequibles y detener el desplazamiento o gentrificación y trabajar con propietarios que están atrasados en sus hipotecas. 

“Tenemos que mirar a largo plazo para asegurarnos de tener viviendas asequibles como un camino a la compra. Tenemos que reabrir los minutos de salud mental, esas son dinámicas que van a tomar tiempo”, dijo tras ganar la elección.