Housing justice has been at the core of JCUA’s work since its founding. In fact, 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.
JCUA members are also deeply passionate about economic justice. In 2020, over 100 members took action to support the Fair Tax campaign, which would create a graduated income tax in Illinois and provide increased funding for the most important parts of our community: education, affordable housing, mental health services, and more. While this campaign was ultimately unsuccessful, it illustrated JCUA’s deep and ongoing commitment to making Chicago a city free of poverty.
Bring Chicago Home
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’ve joined a powerful coalition convened by the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless — including our longtime allies at ONE Northside, United Working Families, SEIU Healthcare, Communities United, All Chicago, and The Corporation for Supportive Housing — who are fighting to make BCH a reality.
Click here to learn more about what BCH will accomplish.