Daley’s 2011 Budget Cuts Include Cop-Friendly Homebuying Program

A relatively small but innovative grant program designed to help Chicago police officers, firefighters and paramedics buy homes in lower-income neighborhoods was among Mayor Daley’s 2011 budget cuts.

Launched in 1995, the Public Safety Officer Homeownership Incentive Program made meeting residency rules—city employees must live within Chicago proper—more manageable.

Over the last two years, 51 Chicago Police Department employees and five Chicago Fire Department employees tapped into the program, receiving grants between $3,000 and $7,500. In total, the program offered $172,500 in assistance since January 2009.

The neighborhoods ranged from Austin to Rogers Park to Pullman. (Even a sliver of Lakeview qualified.)

But now, the program is gone.

“This is one of the many cuts that were made in putting together the 2011 budget,” Pete Scales, a spokesman for the city’s Department of Finance, said. “We cut [$97 million] in expenditures.”

Chicago’s home-buying cops and firefighters can still apply for a similar program, offered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In blue: boundaries for the homeowning assistance program (City of Chicago)

This entry was written and reported by BGA senior investigator Patrick Rehkamp. He can be reached at (312) 386-9201, or at prehkamp@bettergov.org.


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