CHA issues preliminary commitment for 5150 housing plan
by BRIAN NADIG
The Board of Commissioners for the Chicago Housing Authority at its March 19 meeting approved a preliminary commitment to award an estimated $21.5 million of project-based housing vouchers over a 30-year period for the planned seven-story, mixed-income housing complex at 5150 N. Northwest Hwy.
The vouchers would be for 30 of the building’s 75 apartments, with 10 vouchers being used for homeless veterans and 20 for families on the CHA waitlist. A preference would be given for families with a veteran or someone with a disability.
CHA spokeswoman Molly Sullivan said that the developer, Full Circle Communities, would have to return to the CHA for formal approval after additional financing is obtained for the project. Full Circle also is seeking low-income housing tax credits from the state and in the past has sought financing from the city.
Sullivan said that the Northwest Highway proposal fits in with the housing authority’s affordable housing goals, adding that there is a need for more affordable housing on the Northwest Side. She added that it is still early in the funding process and that city tax dollars are not used for the vouchers, as they come from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Alderman John Arena (45th), who recently lost his re-election bid to Chicago firefighter Jim Gardiner, has been a strong supporter for the project.
Some supporters have said the site’s proximity to the Jefferson Park CTA Terminal would give the building’s tenants better access to job opportunities and that the project itself would represent a step toward desegregating the area. At a public hearing last year, a supporter said that the time had come for Jefferson Park residents’ “monopoly” on opportunity to end. The housing plan has generated a storm of controversy on social media for more than 2 years.
The developer has said that all 75 units would be either be accessible for those with disabilities or could be adapted to fit their needs.
Sullivan said that the CHA had issued a preliminary commitment for the project in 2017 and that the authority’s recent vote represents a renewal of that commitment.