Cook County businesses connect with HRA to address local housing crunch
WTIP file photo

Cook County businesses connect with HRA to address local housing crunch

Several Cook County businesses are asking their patrons to get involved with solving the local housing crunch.

Out of the gates, these businesses will be doing so through a contribution added to the stay at several local lodging facilities. The fee structure is voluntary for local businesses, not for the patrons or guests at the entities that opt in for the new initiative. A one percent contribution will be added to transactions that take place at local businesses who choose to be involved with the initiative, according to Cook County Housing Redevelopment Authority Director Jason Hale. The funds will be used specifically for on-site construction costs connected to local housing projects where the HRA is involved, Hale said during an Oct. 11 interview on WTIP.

News of the initiative first surfaced during a Sept. 15 housing forum on WTIP. Hale, one of the participants in the forum, said “the conversation to collect these funds is being led by local business folks.”

Among them is Steve Surbaugh, a co-owner of Cascade Vacation Rentals. The short-term rental operation is spearheading the initiative to collect a contribution similar to a tax, though it is not technically a fee structure authorized or even recognized by local government. Rather, the funds will be given directly to the HRA to be used for various housing projects. As of Oct. 11, Cascade Vacation Rentals and Odyssey Resorts have signed on for the initiative. Other local businesses can get involved by contacting Hale directly, he said. The businesses do not need to be involved in lodging, he added.

Hale visited WTIP Oct. 11 and spoke with WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs about the voluntary housing initiative. Audio below.