by Dan Rafter
How expensive are apartment rents in Chicago and Illinois’ other major cities? A new study shows that more than one in four renters in these cities spend more than half of their income on rents.
Make Room, a national campaign for renters’ rights, said that of the 736,000 renters in the 10 most-populated cities in Illinois, more than 200,000 — or 28 percent — spend more than half of their household income on rent and utilities.
That level is considered a “severe” burden by housing experts.
There is little hope now of more affordable rental housing coming to the state. Illinois’ well-publicized budget impasse has frozen $25 million in funds from the national HOME Investment Partnerships Program that had already been set aside for affordable housing across Illinois. That has brought a halt to affordalbe rental communities already in the construction process.
Make Room said that the budget impasse in the state has slowed 20 affordable-rental projects across the state and more in the pre-development phase.
“Struggles with rent in Illinois are not limited to Chicago alone, and the number of people paying unaffordable rent in many areas is well above the national average,” said Angela Boyd, managing director of the Make Room campaign, in a written statement. “The combination of rising rents and stagnant wages makes it particularly difficult for Illinois renters to make ends meet.”
Nationally, 11.4 million families — one in four U.S. renter households — spend at least half of their incomes on rent.