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City To Use $1M From Airbnb Fees To House 100 Families This Summer

 Fees from  Airbnb rentals like this one in Wrigleyville are being used to help house homeless families.
Fees from Airbnb rentals like this one in Wrigleyville are being used to help house homeless families.
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Screenshot/Airbnb

CHICAGO — City officials said Thursday that 100 families with school-age children living in some of Chicago's most violent neighborhoods will get a new, permanent home this summer.

Using $1 million from the fees paid by homeowners who use home-sharing platforms like Airbnb, Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office will partner with the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless to identify families who are homeless or on the verge of homelessness, officials said.

"Around the city, children should be able to focus on their studies, and not where they are going to sleep at night," Emanuel said in a statement.

In June, the City Council imposed new regulations on homeowners who use home-sharing platforms like Airbnb that levied a 4 percent tax on hosts, limit the number of units in buildings that can be rented out and require hosts to keep records on guests.

That tax is expected to generate between $2.5 million and $3 million that is earmarked to fight homelessness in Chicago. Approximately $500,000 from the revenue generated by the home-sharing service has already been spent to help 150 homeless Chicagoans, officials said.

The 100 new permanent supportive housing units will be added by the Chicago Low Income Housing Trust Fund, which will match the $1 million in city funds to get the program off the ground, officials said.

Families in Austin, Englewood, West Englewood and Humboldt Park with children attending Ellington, Nicholson, Earle, Ward, Howe and Lowell elementary schools will have priority for the program, officials said.

Those neighborhoods are among the most violent in Chicago, and homeless Chicagoans are at a greater risk of violence, officials said.

Families selected for the program will get housing vouchers, as well as counseling and other services to ensure they remain housed, officials said.