City issues RFP for new $15 million initiative to promote shared ownership

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Chicago Construction News staff writer

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The Community Wealth Building Pilot, a $15 million program aimed at creating shared ownership opportunities for homeownership, was launched last week.

The city anticipates releasing additional Community Wealth Building RFPs in early 2023. Future RFPs will likely provide pre-development and development grants for specific CWB projects. To learn more about the Community Wealth Building initiative, visit chicago.gov/CommunityWealthBuilding. The deadline to respond to the Community WEB RFP is November 1, 2022, at 12:00 PM.

“The COVID-19 pandemic exposed how a lack of wealth makes residents more vulnerable to economic insecurity and instability,” said Mayor Lori Lightfoot. “In our recovery, I am committed to piloting new and innovative models of economic development that provide more accessible and sustainable pathways for our residents to build generational wealth and stabilize their neighborhoods.”

The pilot program is described as an approach to economic development that promotes the local, democratic, and shared ownership and control of community assets in order to transform the economy to be “more sustainable and just”.

Funding will support four models:

  • Worker Cooperative (Business Ownership) – Business owned & democratically controlled by its employees, rather than by one owner, several partners, or outside shareholders
  • Limited-Equity Housing Cooperative (Home Ownership) – Housing owned & managed by a cooperative made up of low-income members who each purchase shares at below-market rates
  • Community Land Trusts (Land Stewardship) – Organization governed by community owns land in perpetuity while residential and commercial tenants own or rent the structures atop the land via a 99-year ground lease
  • Community Investment Vehicle (Commercial Real Estate) – a legal investment mechanism that provides collective community investment in neighborhood assets based on shared development goal(s). In its perfect form, it is majority-controlled, majority-owned and designed by residents or local members

The program “is both a tool for building financial wealth and selfdetermination.” said Chief Equity Officer Candace Moore, “When historically disinvested communities gain ownership and control over the assets in their community, it builds pride and power.”

The CWB pilot is part of the Chicago Recovery Plan, the City’s plan to amplify once-in-a-generation federal funding to create an equity-based investment strategy. To learn more visit chicago.gov/recoveryplan.

“Through this historic investment in Community Wealth Building, the Department of Planning and Development is excited for more residents on the South and West sides to have an ownership stake in the businesses and property in the neighborhoods, allowing communities to benefit from the local growth and prosperity,” said DPD Commissioner Maurice Cox.

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