Advocacy Update: Bring Chicago Home Initiative Passes Chicago City Council


November 7, 2023 | by Amber Smock

Access Living friends and allies,

Congratulations to Bring Chicago Home advocates! We would like to extend our warmest congratulations to our allies in the housing advocacy field, including Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, One NorthSide, SEIU, UWFM, Communities United, and the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs for their tireless efforts in pushing for crucial revenue to address the city’s ongoing housing crisis. The Bring Chicago Home Ordinance (BCH) has advanced to the March 2024 ballot after receiving a full committee vote, coming one week after the city council rules committee approved the BCH referendum!

Chicago has 68,000 people who are experiencing homelessness in shelters, on the streets, disproportionately affecting low-income Black families and people with disabilities.

Furthermore, a large number of people with disabilities experience homelessness, with four out of 10 families in shelters self-reporting a disability, and one in five self-reporting a mental health problem. With the City’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program already closed and the ARAP following suit, Chicago needs this funding. 

BCH will create dedicated funding for more affordable, accessible permanent housing and community support services.

The ordinance will implement a three-tiered real estate transfer tax on property sales over $1 million. There will be a 2% increase for sales between $1-1.5 million, and 3% for sales of $1.5 million or more, while reducing the tax for property sales under $1 million to 0.6%. This is estimated to generate at least $100 million annually that will be legally dedicated to programs that create the preservation of existing housing, creation of new housing, housing vouchers, and other potential services for addressing homelessness.

For a long time, Access Living and our community organizing group DRACH has supported the Bring Chicago Home Campaign.

We are proud to see it take the next step. Voters in Chicago will be asked on their March 2024 ballots whether they support Bring Chicago Home, also known as the real estate transfer tax. We hope that everyone in Chicago turns out to vote “Yes” to the Bring Chicago Home question on the ballot in March 2024!