Real Estate

How Naperville is Handling its Affordable Housing Shortage

Naperville is starting to fill its affordable housing void, five years after the southwest Chicago suburb was flagged for its lack of such properties.

The Illinois Housing Development Authority recently accepted Naperville’s affordable housing plan that was submitted earlier this year, indicating progress in tackling the long-standing issue, the Chicago Tribune reported.

However, the state agency will release an updated report on which Illinois towns have insufficient affordable housing, and it’s possible that Naperville is flagged again. If that happens, officials will have to amend its newly approved plan or create a new one.

The city’s plan reflects ongoing initiatives to increase its affordable housing supply. Naperville had been cited in three previous reports — 2004, 2013, and 2018 — for not meeting affordability standards set by Illinois’ Affordable Housing Planning and Appeal Act of 2003.

Naperville’s relevant initiatives include leveraging publicly-owned land for an affordable housing complex, preserving so-called “naturally occurring affordable housing,” establishing a rehabilitation loan fund for low-income seniors and creating a housing trust fund for specific populations.

To avoid being called out for scarce affordability, at least 10 percent of a town’s housing stock must be considered affordable, except for towns with a population less than 1,000. The city’s housing plan indicates the need for an additional 1,263 affordable units and up to 13,000 units by 2040 to meet the state’s minimum requirement, the outlet reported.

However, meeting this requirement could be challenging given the limited amount of developable land in the suburb.

Naperville’s efforts to address its affordability issue have been ongoing, with a focus on implementing recommendations from a Housing Needs Assessment conducted in 2019. The city aims to continue making progress on its plans, which includes an incentive program for developers to build affordable housing and ongoing projects to meet the state’s standards.

— Quinn Donoghue

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