'Bring Chicago Home' referendum officially shot down by voters

On Friday, it was confirmed that voters rejected the "Bring Chicago Home" referendum.

Roughly 34% of Chicago voters voted against the referendum, which would have hiked a real estate tax on high-end property sales to fund services for homeless people.

The referendum asked Chicago voters to support an increase on a transfer tax for properties over $1 million, as a one-time buyer’s fee.

Chicago’s rate is currently 0.75% on all property sales. The proposal would have overhauled the tax structure: 2% for properties over $1 million, 3% on properties over $1.5 million and down to 0.6% on properties under $1 million.

"Bring Chicago Home" Tax Referendum

Most Chicago property sales are under $1 million, so the majority of home buyers would have paid less. Analysis by the proponents showed roughly 95% of homebuyers would have seen a decrease.

Backers of "Bring Chicago Home" estimated the change would have generated $100 million annually. It would have been set aside solely for homeless services, including mental health care and job training.

Chicago spends about $50 million of city funds for such services. Advocates said having a bigger dedicated funding source would make a huge difference, including for prevention.

"It allows us to move the needle in a way we can’t do now," said Doug Schenkelberg, executive director of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless.

Roughly 68,000 Chicagoans experience homelessness and racial disparities exist, according to the coalition. Roughly half are Black. The definition of homeless covers people without fixed addresses, whether they are sleeping on a friend’s couch or the streets.

The Neighborhood Building Owners Alliance released the following statement in regard to the "Bring Chicago Home" referendum failing:

"Chicago has lost almost 15 percent of its affordable housing since 2012, in part because of the city’s unattractive investment climate. Rather than the end of Bring Chicago Home, we hope this is the beginning of a fresh climate that stimulates investment in and reduces obstacles to the creation and maintenance of affordable housing.

There are vacant lots and empty buildings all across Chicago. We can transform them into homes for hard-working Chicago families, if the City works with us instead of against us."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.