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Building Affordability into the 26th Ward

Ald. Maldonado has been keeping the 26th Ward affordable for our neighbors and the next generation by approving these affordable homes. In two years, almost 200 new apartments have been added to the housing stock in the Ward. Six new, affordable homes are also on the way.

Long-time residents, who rebuilt the Ward, have earned their right to enjoy the fruits of their labor.


A building rehab--with 68 affordable studios--was approved by the City Council with Maldonado's vigorous support.

Soon to come--15 live/work apartments for artists and their families above a theater, concert hall and piano bar.


49 single and family units opened in 2018 for incomes between $17,800-$50,500.


45 family-size apartments are slated for Oct. 2018 in 12 locations across the ward. Each has low utilities.

 Maldonado asked developers to build homes on city owned lots the 95% could afford. Now, 6 homes will sell for $247,000 each to those making between $66,000 and $94,000.

In 2011, abandoned homes were rehabbed and sold to families with incomes between $38,000-$90,000. Prices started at $90,000.

Since taking office in 2009, Alderman Maldonado has vigorously supported the building and rehabbing of affordable homes and apartments in the 26th Ward. In the last 2 years, he has approved the building of almost 200 affordable apartments and 6 new homes in the Ward. "Builders who build middle-income housing have been driven out of the real estate market. Now only high-end builders exist. The City and CHA can use their funds and programs to rebuild the middle-income real estate market so the next generation can have an opportunity to put down roots," explained Maldonado.

As soon as he took office in 2009, Maldonado moved to eliminate abandoned houses in the ward by taking property owners to housing court, forcing them to repair these houses or tear them down. "Not only are abandoned homes unsafe and unsanitary, criminal gangs may hide there and sometimes stash illegal guns there, " Maldonado explained further.

Maldonado voted NO on the Mayor's property tax and the current budget. High taxes is another factor that is driving housing costs higher. "The City of Chicago simply cannot continue to reach further into the pockets of working Chicagoans to finance decades of economic irresponsibility and mistakes."

Federal funds rebuilt abandoned homes into the hands of modest income families. In 2011, with the help of federal funds, more than five abandoned homes were rehabbed and sold to families with incomes between $38,000-$90,000. Two flats on 360 N. Avers, 3417 W. Hirsch, 3339 W. Lemoyne, 3518 W. Lemoyne and 1636 N. Spaulding were sold starting at $90,000. "We were able to get vacant foreclosed homes up-to-code and occupied as quickly as possible," said Maldonado.

CHA must spend their $442M surplus. In 2014, Maldonado was a Lead Sponsor to re-introduce the Keeping the Promise Ordinance. It urges CHA to properly utilize its federal funding for those in need of housing and phase-in 3,000 additional vouchers per year over 3 years. "Thousands of Chicago residents could find homes. Hundreds of apartment owners would find steady renters--if only CHA would stop sitting on our federal tax dollars they are obligated to use to house Chicagoans," said Maldonado.

According to CHA's latest financial report (FY2012), the Chicago Housing Authority is sitting on surplus cash of more than $432 million. To put that in perspective, CHA's cash stockpile is larger than the whole City of Chicago's budget deficit for 2014.

Teardowns hurt modest income families. Maldonado introduced the “Pilot Act for the Preservation of Affordable Housing in the 606 Residential Area”. It would implement higher fees to demolish housing, build new market-rate housing, and to rezone a property intended for market-rate housing.
Maldonado reported, "The neighborhoods along the 606, especially west of Western Avenue, are experiencing an unprecedented rate of demolition.  In many cases, two- to four-unit rental buildings are being demolished to make way for large single-family homes."

City $1 Lot Sales are creating 6 single family home that 1 in 5 Chicagoans can afford. Maldonado asked home builders to bid on developing 6 new homes for families making between $66,000 (for an individual) and $94,000 to $125,00 (for families of 4 to 8) under the City Lots for City Living Program. The winning bid designed 6 brand new homes for only $247,000. "This program preserve the middle-class identity of this neighborhood," said Maldonado.

Mixed use helps businesses on Division Street. "We need housing, but we also need thriving restaurants and entertainment, especially on Division Street," said Maldonado. The Nancy Franco-Maldonado Paseo Boricua Arts Building project will transform seven buildings on the 2700 Block of West Division Street, including the former site of Ashland Sausage Company-vacant since 2005-into the first-ever cultural building in Chicago with a holistic focus on providing live/work space and promoting the talents of local artists in various media. The building will offer 15 live/work residences for artists and their families; a 99 seat multi-media theater with film, theatre, and concert performances; and a nearly 3,000 square foot art gallery with a retail component allowing resident and local artists to sell their artworks. A piano lounge showcasing wines from Latin America and spirits from the Caribbean will become an anchor for nightlife on the Paseo Boricua corridor.

Fixing the problems the 606 created with Forgivable Loans. "Long-time  residents near the 606 have seen their property taxes increase dramatically but not their income," said Maldonado. That's why I lobbied the City to provide Forgivable Loans." A single family home or up to a 4-unit dwelling, can receive up to $25,00o in a "forgivable loan" for a new roof, painting, siding, tuck pointing, windows or doors, a new porch, plumbing, electrical, heating.

The 26th Ward has always been home to the 95%, those Carl Sandburg called "Big Shoulders" in his famous poem. If action isn't taken now, they will be driven out by the builders who cater only to the upper 3%. That's why I did not support the 606 Bloomingdale Trail.

Why Maldonado Opposed the 606
High-end developers needed a premium urban park in order to sell mini-mansions that were miles away from Lake Michigan. only the upper 5% could purchase. That's why the real estate industry rallied behind the 606 Bloomingdale Trail. But they didn't use their own money. They tapped federal, state, city and non-profit funds.

"I knew that a premium urban park was a necessary precondition to sell to the upper %5; otherwise these developers would look elsewhere," Maldonado explained. "So I did not approve any stage of the Bloomingdale Trail."

Here's Why
In many instances, a million dollar home is only available to households with incomes around $300,000 gross.  With a down payment of $200,000, their monthly mortgage and taxes are just under $5,400.  This is just under 30% of their $18,000 monthly net income. If they have a car note, any credit card debt or a student loan, their gross incomes must be over $350,000.
According to Statistical Atlas, these households make up less than 5% of our Chicago households. In fact, less than 3% of Chicago families could purchase the new construction home on the right.

"Many Ward residents only earn $18,000 in a year--not $18,000 in a month. These houses will never be affordable to our current neighbors or even the next generation of 26th Ward residents," reported Maldonado.


This home is on the market for $1,249,000. Less than 3% of Chicago families can afford to buy it. To qualify for a mortgage, a family would need at least $300,000 annually or about $18,000 a month.


Ald. Maldonado has been keeping the 26th Ward affordable for our neighbors and the next generation. In the last 2 years, his support has resulted in nearly 200 new or rehabbed apartments added to the housing stock in the 26th Ward. He even added 6 single family homes for $247,000 each.

Long-time residents, who rebuilt the Ward, have earned their right to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

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