Brief How Chicago and Cook County Can Leverage Opportunity Zones for Community Benefit
Brett Theodos, Brady Meixell
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Local officials, impact investors, and philanthropy have important roles to play in helping communities access Opportunity Zone financing that benefits current residents, especially those with low or moderate incomes. Using Chicago and Cook County as a case study, we identify steps these actors can take to attract helpful, and limit harmful, investments. We find that the Opportunity Zones selected in Chicago and Cook County broadly fulfilled the incentive’s spirit, targeting areas that were more economically distressed. Going forward, it will be necessary to leverage available policy and philanthropic levers to compel private action in line with community interests.

Research Areas Economic mobility and inequality Education Wealth and financial well-being Neighborhoods, cities, and metros Social safety net Taxes and budgets Workforce Housing
Tags Workforce development Federal housing programs and policies Poverty Infrastructure Federal urban policies Job opportunities Multifamily finance Single-family finance Credit availability Financial products and services Public and private investment Individual taxes Taxes and business Community and economic development Finance Financial stability
Policy Centers Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center
States Illinois
Cities Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI