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Friday, October 22nd, 2021

Will the received 160 applications help solve Chicago’s affordable housing shortage?

A Strong Demand in the First Month of Chicago's Coach House Pilot Program
Richard and Sara Thomas and their daughter, Sofy, 4, play with their dog Brooklyn in their backyard on June 1, 2021 near the garage where they plan to build an additional dwelling unit behind their two-flat home in the West Woodlawn neighborhood.
Richard and Sara Thomas and their daughter, Sofy, 4, play with their dog Brooklyn in their backyard on June 1, 2021 near the garage where they plan to build an additional dwelling unit behind their two-flat home in the West Woodlawn neighborhood | Photograph © Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune

In all, the city received more than 150 applications for coach house construction or conversion projects in the first month of the program, according to Freishat.

"Applications to build coach houses, basement units and attic apartments poured in during the first month of a pilot program in Chicago, as the addition of units became legal in the city for the first time in nearly 65 years.

The program is designed to expand access to moderate-cost and affordable housing, provide space for multigenerational living, and generate revenue property owners can use to offset taxes, maintenance and other home expenses. For now, it’s limited to five zones of the city.

Early applicants say they want to create coach house apartments for family members in high-cost neighborhoods or to rent out. Some, though, are skeptical the program will live up to its ambitions, saying barriers could prevent many units from being created, or make it hard to offer units at reasonable rents.

The results of the pilot program over the next three years will determine whether and how additional dwelling units, known as ADUs, will be expanded, or whether the program will be scrapped.

The program spans five areas: The north zone covers Lakeview to Edgewater and West Ridge and the northwest zone includes West Town, Logan Square and Albany Park. The west zone spans parts of East and West Garfield Park and North and South Lawndale while the south zone is made up of parts of 12 community areas, including Washington Park, Woodlawn, Englewood and Ashburn. The southeast zone covers the Far Southeast Side of the city.
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