I believe that the neighborhoods of the 47th ward should be welcoming and accessible to residents of all ages. From City Hall, I developed a dedicated fee on rideshare (Uber, Lyft, etc.) trips that the city has invested to increase the number of accessible taxis and rideshare vehicles. As alderman I will work to make our community more age-friendly by:
Developing an Age-Friendly Standard to Guide Development, Infrastructure, and Transportation Planning. I will work with stakeholders to develop a set of Age-Friendly criteria that we can apply to infrastructure investment, new developments, the zoning code, and other areas of influence for the alderman’s office. I will use these criteria to inform investments of aldermanic menu funds as well as to help guide my advocacy with city agencies like the CTA and CDOT as well as state agencies
Creating an Age-Friendly Designation for Neighborhood Businesses. I will support expanding upon the city’s Age-Friendly Business program by working with 47th ward businesses to make specific commitments to become more age-friendly to consumers and employees. The criteria for becoming an Age-Friendly Business could include ensuring accessibility of storefronts, marketing to seniors, committing to hire senior employees, and offering senior discounts. Businesses that agree would be publicly identified on a list of 47th Ward Age-Friendly businesses.
Advocating for Funding to Make Homes Accessible to Allow Residents to Age in Place. By 2030, the over 65 population in Illinois is expected to grow by nearly 20%. More and more of seniors seek to age in place with dignity and freedom. I will advocate to plan ahead for this growing trend by developing dedicated funding pools to help homeowners and apartment owners make new and existing units accessible.
Fighting for More Affordable Housing Options for Seniors. I will support the development of new senior housing – both dedicated senior housing and intergenerational housing. To increase the availability of affordable and accessible units, I will also support allowing accessory dwelling units – or “granny flats” – along with garden apartments. And I will work with developers of large residential projects to include affordable units in their developments and go above the current 10% by pairing a higher mandate with tax incentives to ensure the projects are sustainable.
Pushing to Make the Department of Aging a Cabinet-Level Department. Today, the Department of Aging falls under the City’s Department of Family and Support Services. In recognition of the Baby Boomers’ growing share of our population, I will call for the next mayor to elevate the Aging Department Commissioner to the cabinet to ensure that citywide decisions are influenced by age-friendly considerations.
Fighting to strengthen tax relief for long-time residents. I will fight for state legislation to strengthen the long-term homeowner’s exemption. Currently, it applies to homeowners with annual incomes at or below $100,000 who have owned their homes for at least ten years. Unfortunately, the exemption ends up only being utilized by less than 2% of eligible homeowners in Cook County because it cannot be used in conjunction with other exemptions. I will support simplifying this exemption to make it a flat 5% ceiling on year-over-year property tax increases for eligible homeowners.