Community Benefits Agreements (CBAs) have become increasingly popular in recent years as a means of ensuring that development projects benefit the communities in which they are located. In Chicago, CBAs have been used to address a range of issues, from the impact of new construction on affordable housing to the need for job training programs.
A Community Benefits Agreement is a legally binding document that outlines the commitments made by developers to a community in exchange for community support for their project. The agreement typically includes provisions related to affordable housing, job creation and training, environmental protections, and community engagement.
One of the biggest benefits of a CBA is the way it can help to ensure that development projects do not have a negative impact on the communities in which they are located. For example, a CBA might include provisions requiring the developer to set aside a certain percentage of units in new housing developments for low-income residents. This can help to mitigate the displacement of long-term residents who might otherwise be priced out of their homes.
Another key benefit of a CBA is that it can help to create job opportunities for local residents, particularly those who may face barriers to employment. CBAs can include provisions requiring the developer to hire a certain percentage of workers from the local community, as well as to provide training and apprenticeship programs that help local residents develop the skills they need to succeed in the workforce.
For communities, CBAs can also be a powerful tool for engaging with developers and ensuring that their voices are heard in the decision-making process. By negotiating a CBA with a developer, community organizations can have a say in the design and implementation of a project, as well as commit the developer to certain community benefits.
Overall, CBAs have become an important tool for communities seeking to ensure that development projects benefit their residents. In Chicago, CBAs have been used to address a range of issues, from the impact of new construction on affordable housing to the need for job training programs. While there is still work to be done to ensure that CBAs are as effective as possible, they represent a powerful tool for communities seeking to shape their own future.