Notes from DePaul:
Bring Chicago Home is a nonpartisan, grassroots movement that proposes an ordinance to create a dedicated annual city budget line for affordable housing and support services for unhoused Chicagoans. The ordinance proposes to change the existing Real Estate Transfer Tax (RETT), a one-time tax paid by Chicago property buyers.
Under the proposed ordinance, the RETT on the property sale value below $1 million will decrease, and the RETT on the sale value of $1 million and above will increase. The Bring Chicago Home ordinance will generate an estimated $100 million in revenue annually for solutions to homelessness.
Launched in 2018, Bring Chicago Home is a coalition of dedicated individuals who have experienced homelessness firsthand, along with community-based organizations and policy experts. Together, they are working tirelessly to tackle the deeply ingrained issue of homelessness in Chicago. Their goal is to get to the root causes of homelessness by increasing city resources towards permanent affordable housing and supportive services for those in need.
Thanks to their unwavering determination and partnership with the City of Chicago, Bring Chicago Home has introduced a plan to restructure the Real Estate Transfer Tax, ensuring tax dollars are wisely and effectively allocated towards addressing homelessness in Chicago. This coalition continues to fight for progress, with the Bring Chicago Home resolution being passed by the Chicago City Council to be put forth to voters as a referendum on the March 2024 ballot.
Through the proposed RETT restructuring, about 95% of property sales will see a decrease in their RETT compared to the current rate.
The vast majority of current homeowners can rest assured that the new RETT will not negatively impact the sale value of their property. Rather, the reduced RETT on properties less than $1 million will make it easier for the typical buyer to access the real estate market.
Landlords may threaten that Bring Chicago Home will force them to raise rents, but we know from history that landlords will raise the rent no matter what. Bring Chicago Home leader Anthony Perkins clearly described the issues in a Crains Chicago Business opinion piece.
The Bring Chicago Home coalition will keep a close eye on the administration of the funding for homelessness services. In fact, a 15-person Advisory Board comprising people with lived experience of homelessness, direct service providers, and advocacy organizations will be involved in deciding how the funds will be allocated toward solutions to homelessness.
The status quo system involves piecing together various and inconsistent sources of local and federal funding for homeless services in the annual city budget. Oftentimes, the funding is used for services, such as shelters, that do not address the root cause of homelessness.
Bring Chicago Home will ensure there is a substantial annual budget line dedicated to permanent, affordable housing solutions.
Shall the City of Chicago impose:
The current rate of the real estate transfer tax is $3.75 per $500 of the entire transfer price, or fraction thereof, and the revenue is used for general corporate purposes. The revenue from the increase (the difference between revenue generated under the increased rate and the current rate) is to be used for the purpose of addressing homelessness, including providing permanent affordable housing and the services necessary to obtain and maintain permanent housing in the City of Chicago.