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Alderman, Homeless Advocates Propose Local Stimulus Bill

By Kevin Robinson in News on Oct 28, 2009 4:00PM

2009_10_28_aldburn.jpg 27th Ward Alderman Walter Burnett thinks he's found a way to fox up neighborhoods, put people back to work, and help some Chicagoans find affordable housing. Burnett would like to put the more than $1 billion in TIF funds that the city is holding into building affordable housing. "You build the houses, people work, people get affordable housing, people pay taxes, money comes back to the city," Burnett told CBS2. Currently only about four percent of TIF monies go to affordable housing in the city. He'd like to see that number closer to 20 percent. "We need to do our own stimulus package," says Burnett.

While the alderman says he's talking to the mayor about his idea, there are several other steps that need to happen before TIF money could be used to build affordable housing. That's because TIF funds are supposed to be used under strict circumstances. (Burnett's due diligence notwithstanding, not all TIF money appears to be used in accordance with what the state legislature intended it for.) So aside from winning Daley's support and the approval of the city council, Burnett would also need to convince the General Assembly to approve such a change.

In the meantime, homeless advocates are hoping for the change as well.