Following a two-month selection process of proposals, presentations, and deliberation, the JCUA membership has voted to join Bring Chicago Home (BCH), a grassroots movement to combat homelessness in Chicago.
The campaign seeks to create a dedicated revenue stream for permanent supportive housing by restructuring the way the city collects taxes when properties are bought and sold. Currently, Chicago collects a 1.2 percent tax on all property transactions, regardless of property value. BCH proposes creating a graduated tax for property transactions valued at $1 million or more. This tax increase would apply to less than 5 percent of property transactions, but the change would have an enormous impact: it would generate $167 million in new revenue — $88 million for the city’s general budget and $79 million specifically dedicated to addressing homelessness.
We now join a powerful coalition convened by the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless — including ONE Northside, United Working Families, SEIU Healthcare, Communities United, All Chicago, and The Corporation for Supportive Housing — fighting to make BCH a reality.
Housing justice has long been a central issue for our organization. Some of the first campaigns JCUA founder Rabbi Robert J. Marx worked on targeted the racist, exploitative housing policies and practices of 1960s Chicago — including redlining and contract buying. JCUA later took on a direct approach to providing affordable housing through our Community Ventures Program, which since 1991 has provided $6.5 million in zero-interest loans and 4,370 units of affordable housing. We are moved and inspired to press forward on an issue we hold so close to our hearts.