LBBA’s Terran Wilson and Emma Jasinski bused down to Springfield last week with other Chicago architects, landscape architects, and structural engineers for AIA’s annual event, Prairie Grassroots. The event, started in 2005, brings architects together with our representatives so that we may lobby for bills and policies pertinent to the field.
In addition to the issues that AIA set to advocate, Terran and Emma talked to Illinois Housing Council and added a few issues of their own that focus on rental housing insecurity and affordable housing financing. Notably, they asked for their representatives Edward Acevedo and Will Guzzardi to support bill LIHTC Rate Increase (US SB 1442), which would finance 400,000 new affordable housing units over the next decade. As 1 in 4 renters pay more than half their income to housing and the number of extremely low-income families and the number of homeless individuals have increased over recent years, the passing of this bill will help alleviate the housing crisis and provide options for those facing homelessness.
Terran, who is reporting LBBA’s commitment to AIA 2030, asked for the re-opening of the Solar and Wind Energy Rebate program, which was suspended this year due to the State budget crisis. As part of the AIA 2030 Commitment, we are seeing that reducing buildings’ energy consumption to net zero is going to be impossible without on-site energy production. Developers have very limited budgets, so financial incentives would ensure more energy producing measures in their developments.
Many of the legislators were surprised and unaware that aspiring architects are at risk of not receiving their license because of $6,500 unpaid debt to the national certification board. In addition to this pressing issue in our field, AIA Illinois also asked for the opposition of bills ‘Small Project Threshold Increase/Architect Selection (HB 5595)’ and ‘Procurement Priorities (SB 2400/HB 4644)’ which would bypass qualified Architecture and Engineering firms during a public project’s procurement process and reduce equal opportunities for those in our profession.
Representative Acevedo and Representative Guzzardi were both receptive and eager to discuss ways in which architects can take an active role in addressing district issues and opportunities for positive collaboration.
Left to right: Chyanne Husar, Alex Acevedo, Emma Jasinski, Representative Edward Acevedo, and Tina Wong.