Since last fall, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s program has offered $30,000 loans to police officers and firefighters to buy a home in certain more violent areas. Few officers are taking him up on it.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s attempt to get Chicago cops and firefighters to spread out into the city’s struggling neighborhoods has yet to draw much interest. Six months after the mayor dangled a monetary carrot to try to get them to purchase homes in high-crime parts of the South and West sides, just two police officers have taken advantage, The Chicago Tribune reports. according to the city Department of Planning and Development. Emanuel’s program offers $30,000 loans to police officers and firefighters to buy a home in certain more violent areas. If they stay for at least 10 years, they don’t have to pay the city back. It’s an idea used by former Mayor Richard Daley in previous decades that Emanuel restarted last year.
The proposal set aside $3 million to pay for the loans and passed the City Council easily last year, but not without skepticism from some aldermen about whether it would spur investment in areas that need it most. The program was organized to promote homebuying by police, firefighters and paramedics in parts of Chicago’s six most statistically violent police districts. Anthony Simpkins, the deputy commissioner for housing in the city’s Department of Planning and Development, said the administration will keep trying to get the proposal on police and fire recruits’ radar as they come out of the academy. He ascribed the slow start in part to the timing of the launch. “It’s been operating for six months starting last October, which isn’t exactly the time of year when people are looking to buy homes,” Simpkins said. “We’re just getting into the spring homebuying season, so that could help it pick up.”