Affordable housing advocates are urging Chicagoans to read and sign their online letter to Mayor Lori Lightfoot. 

In the body of the letter penned to Lightfoot, the Bring Chicago Home (BCH) coalition asks that she join their demonstration at 9:30 a.m. on Nov. 3 at 110 N. Wacker Dr. 

They are also asking that the mayor support their ballot measure that would ask Chicago voters if the city should increase the real estate transfer tax for buyers who purchase residential or commercial properties for more than $1 million, and redirect those funds from the city toward efforts to combat homelessness. 

The resolution is currently in Chicago’s City Council rules committee and, with the mayor’s support, could become a ballot question in the upcoming February 2023 municipal election. 

The 55-story, 1.5-million-square-foot office tower on Wacker Drive opened in October 2020. The space was most recently leased by Bank of America. 

According to the letter, the coalition will demonstrate “how $25 million from the recent sale of this building could have been used to create nearly 200 units of affordable housing with supportive services for persons experiencing homelessness.”


According to the Wall Street Journal, in December 2021, Oak Hill Advisors agreed to buy the building from Howard Hughes Corporation in a deal valued at $1 billion. Crain’s Chicago Business reported that the sale was one of the largest transactions for a Chicago office building since the Blackstone Group purchased Willis Tower in 2015.

Since 2019, organizers and stakeholders with the BCH coalition have been proposing that the city have a designated fund to combat homelessness, one that is not subject to budget fluctuations or priority shifts with changing administrations. This type of fund would develop more affordable housing and wraparound services for people who are experiencing homelessness. 

“For over three years, we have tried to work with you on a proposal to increase the real estate transfer tax on high-end property sales, creating a new, dedicated revenue for over 65,000 Chicagoans living on the streets, in shelters and doubled-up,” the letter reads.

In addition to signing the letter and joining the demonstration on Nov. 3, the BCH coalition are calling on Chicago residents to contact their alderperson and the mayor’s office to support the BCH proposal, which they believe can combat homelessness.

“The Bring Chicago Home coalition remains willing and ready to work with you––but will you ever be willing and ready to work with us,” the letter reads. 

The BCH proposal calls for restructuring the real estate transfer tax on high-end property sales and imposing a one-time tax on sold properties. Currently, the revenue generated from the tax goes to the city for general corporate purposes. The BCH proposal would have the funds go toward anti-homelessness efforts. 

Under the proposal, the BCH coalition says the city could invest in new housing, preserve existing affordable housing, rehab vacant properties, provide housing vouchers and more.

is a multimedia reporter for The TRiiBE.