Media Release: 25th Ward Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez Introduces Three Ordinances at City Council to Address Issues of Housing Affordability

CHICAGO— 25th Ward Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez during today’s City Council meeting fulfilled a commitment to fight for affordable housing access and development without displacement.

Alongside co-lead sponsor Ald. Taliaferro and the Chicago Housing Initiative (CHI), Ald. Sigcho-Lopez lead sponsored the Development for All ordinance which amends the Affordable Requirements Ordinance (ARO) to close loopholes that render the ARO incapable of delivering what it was intended to do: create genuinely inclusive and conscious development. The Homes for All ordinance, also formed in collaboration with CHI and co-lead sponsored by Ald. Taliaferro, seeks to improve transparency of the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) and to protect and desegregate public housing. 

“These ordinances are critical in ensuring the provision of real affordable housing and high-quality public housing that our city desperately needs,” Sigcho-Lopez said. “We need to ensure balanced and conscious model of development that chisels away at segregation, lessens gentrification spirals, and provides for development without displacement.”

Sigcho-Lopez also introduced an ordinance amending Section 4-6-050 of the Municipal Code to prohibit persistent, unsolicited and harassing practices by real estate developers to pressure and unfairly force homeowners to sell their property. 

The ordinance comes after numerous 25th Ward constituents reported being persistently harassed by developers hoping to convince them to sell their homes despite having unequivocally spurned their approaches. Constituents noted that shortly after they rejected developers’ aggressive approaches, they were subject to buildings inspections of their properties. 

“This is not a phenomenon unique to the 25th Ward of course, nor is it new. These predatory tactics have been used for years especially targeting gentrifying communities,” Sigcho-Lopez said, citing Operation Crooked Code, a federal investigation that revealed collusion between developers and city inspectors to charge resistant homeowners with building code violations. The associated fines, in tandem with increases in property taxes, would force homeowners to sell their property - oftentimes to developers.

4th Ward Ald. Sophia King signed on as a co-lead sponsor and more than 30 aldermen co-sponsored the ordinance, which also garnered support from the Metropolitan Tenants Association, Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, the 25th Ward IPO, the Northwest Side Housing Center and a number of other community groups.

If adopted, this ordinance would subject any individual caught using unsolicited and harassing methods to pressure homeowners, by way of emails, calls, house visits and misleading propaganda materials, among other predatory tactics, to a fine of no less than $2,000 and no more than $10,000 for each offense. Each day that a violation continues shall constitute a separate and distinct offense.

Byron Sigcho