Declaring it time to put an end to a system that perpetuates redlining and the growth of vacant properties, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced she is joining the Cook County Land Bank Authority, Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough, and Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer in calling for reform of the Cook County Scavenger Sale, a limit on interest rates charged to homeowners under a county lien, and a new strategic plan to recover and revitalize blighted communities. Preckwinkle joined other city and suburban leaders to support the systemic reforms proposed in the “Homeowner Relief and Community Recovery Act.” The bill will empower communities and local governments to transform vacant properties into homes and put them back on the tax rolls while helping residents stay in their homes by reducing predatory interest rates.
They announced their support for the proposal at the ribbon cutting for a newly renovated, multi-unit apartment building that had languished vacant for 15 years, harboring illegal activity and dragging down surrounding property values in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood. The Land Bank and a local developer transformed 6429 S. Stewart Ave. into 42 units of affordable housing. The HRCR Act attacks the cycle of abandonment and disinvestment in key ways. It changes tax penalties from a predatory rate, making it easier for homeowners to pay delinquent tax bills; and it helps municipalities save abandoned properties more quickly, stopping the cycle of vacancy, blight, crime and disinvestment as exemplified by the Stewart building.