Around Rogers Park - Stacie Young Highlights Importance of NOAH in Crain’s OpEd

Stacie Young, President and CEO of Community Investment Corporation (CIC), stressed the importance of Chicago’s Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing (NOAH) in an OpEd piece in the April 11, 2022 edition of Crain’s Chicago Business.

So, what exactly is NOAH, and why is this relevant to the Around Rogers Park section of the Newsletter?

Young describes NOAH as “the city’s backbone of vintage buildings, both multifamily and two- to four-flats, in neighborhoods with lower property values [many of which] are owned by responsible small local businesses.” Needless to say, Rogers Park is full of such housing and has long been a NOAH stronghold within Chicago, and an increasingly rare holdout on the city’s North Lakefront. In addition, many of those NOAH buildings in Rogers Park are owned and operated by small and medium-sized owners, some of whom are members of our RPBG organization.

Young stresses the need to preserve this housing stock which comprises 75% of affordable rentals nationwide. Young credits Chicago and Illinois for implementing strategies on several fronts to preserve NOAH and keep it affordable to the broadest cross-section of renters. These strategies include incentives to upgrade energy efficiency and adopt more sensible building code requirements that reduce construction and rehab costs without compromising safety. Preservation of NOAH got a big boost last year when the state passed a new rental property tax incentive program that can be used statewide.

This last accomplishment is especially near and dear to Young’s heart. Before taking on the role of CEO at CIC, Young was the Director of The Preservation Compact, a broad coalition of corporate, non-profit and governmental entities working together to preserve affordable housing in the state. The Preservation Compact worked closely with their partners to create and pass this rental property tax incentive which drew inspiration from the Class 9 program in Cook County and now expands it across the state.

As Young says, finding ways to preserve and protect NOAH is a far better option than trying to replace it or let it fall into disrepair. She warns us not to take this precious resource for granted. It is probably fair to say that our RPBG members understand these concerns very well, and are her natural allies in this preservation effort.