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City Failed To Account For $4.6M In Affordable Housing Funds: Report

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A new report released by Chicago Inspector General Joseph Ferguson's office revealed that the city cannot account for $4.6M in affordable housing funds and lays out recommendations to ensure this does not happen again. The Office of Management and Budget admitted that official accounting practices made tracking affordable housing funds a challenge, but city officials claim the money was spent on affordable housing projects.

The report also casts doubt on the Department of Planning and Development's strategy to encourage affordable housing. Ferguson said the city does not use evidence to identify opportunity areas for affordable housing and instead based the plan on socioeconomic factors like jobs and transportation access. DPD's strategy, the report states, may have actually impeded affordable housing development in high-opportunity areas.

DPD said it will amend its strategy to better identify high opportunity areas for affordable housing development.

The report's harshest criticisms were levied at the Chicago Community Land Trust. The 10-year-old trust, which is tasked with acquiring land for affordable housing development, has never been given the resources to do so, or to acquire long-term ground leases to preserve affordable housing. Instead, CCLT focused on screening prospective low-income homebuyers and providing homeownership workshops.

Ferguson recommended the trust be dissolved. City officials responded by saying the words "land trust" would be dropped from its name to better reflect its mission.