Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) missed two City Council meetings on Monday, Nov. 15, that were intended to move forward an ordinance addressing the city’s homelessness crisis.
The "Bring Chicago Home" ordinance, which was introduced in 2018, would impose real estate transfer taxes on properties worth $1 million or more to pay for more city services for people without housing. A proposal to pose the ordinance to Chicago voters as a referendum in the 2023 municipal elections was being considered at Monday’s meetings, but because both failed to reach a quorum of alderpersons present, the matter was tabled.
The necessary quorum was 25 alderpersons. After the first meeting of the day failed to reach quorum, alderpersons rescheduled it for Monday afternoon — at that second meeting, quorum was just one alderperson short.
Hairston said the next day that though she had been in the building during these meetings, she was wrapped up in a Finance Committee discussing a South Shore Tax Increase Financing (TIF) district.
"I was dealing with another ward matter with two other aldermen," Hairston said. "I was in the building because I had been in Finance, and I was having another meeting in between Finance with two other aldermen."
The topic of conversation concerned TIF money for a grocery store on 72nd Street and Stony Island Avenue.
Hairston expressed support for the ordinance, in spite of City Council’s failure to move it forward.
According to the Bring Chicago Home Coalition, more than 65,000 people in the city are affected by homelessness.
Real estate transfer taxes are paid once when property ownership transfers from one party to another. The ordinance would increase that tax 1.9% on properties worth $1 million or more. The Bring Chicago Home coalition backing the amendment says this would impact 4.2% of properties and generate $163 million to combat homelessness through the preservation of existing and creation of new housing and the issuance of new housing vouchers.
Alds. Sophia King (4th) and Jeanette Taylor (20th) were both at the meeting. Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd) missed the call for the first meeting and had a scheduling conflict for the second one.