Housing Affordability: The Litmus Test for Chicago’s Mayor’s Race, Municipal Elections for 2007
As local elections loom, a Housing Fact Sheet for
Chicago released by CRN revealed troubling trends:
residents paying more of their income for places to
live, a declining number of rental units, and higher
“Housing affordability is the litmus test for 2007
elections,” said Kevin Jackson, executive director of
the Chicago Rehab Network. The analysis, released
Jan. 23 via e-mail, is posted on
www.chicagorehab.org, and was sent to all mayoral
and aldermanic candidates. Major findings in the
report are shown below.
Continued Decline in Rental Apartments: The
city lost over 71,000 rental units since 2000. Chicago
stands to lose an additional 8,000 federally
subsidized units in three years when contracts expire
by 2010. The loss of rental units has not been offset,
despite the 17,000 condos, homes and apartments
Chicago gained in five years that are classified as
new housing units. The Chicago Rehab Analysis also
includes numbers that show a decline in the numbers
of white and African American residents in the city,
increased poverty, and an increase in median rents.
Increased Housing Cost Burden: Chicago
homeowners are struggling with housing costs.
Almost half of homeowners spend more that 35
percent of their income on housing cost. This is a
dramatic increase given just 26 percent of
homeowners were cost burdened in 2000. Cost-
burdened renters, those who pay more than a third
of their income for rental housing, is also up. of four
Chicago renters are cost burdened, a number which
increased significantly since 2000. The trend
portends increased foreclosures, homelessness and
greater neighborhood instability.
Housing Costs Rising Higher Than Incomes:
The median home purchase price was $255,000
in 2005, up from $150,160 just five years earlier.
Annual income needed to purchase a home at this
rate would be at least $68,000. But with current
median household income in the city at $41,015, a
decline from $45,278 in 2000, homeownership remains
out of reach for most Chicagoans.
The press release and the fact sheet are available at
Download the CRN Housing Trends Fact Sheet ...
For 25 years, the Chicago Rehab Network (CRN) has
worked to further the development and preservation
of safe affordable housing in Chicago, and throughout
the state of Illinois.
|HOT STUFF: Major Victory Scored by National Housing Advocates
Last Wednesday, January 31st, the House voted 286-
114 to pass a FY07 joint funding resolution that
includes increased funding for vouchers ($487 million
increase), public housing ($300 million increase),
project-based Section 8 ($939 million increase) and
homeless assistance grants ($115 million increase).
These increases mean that currently assisted families
will not lose their housing assistance in the coming
year. National advocates were able to achieve a
total increase in the HUD budget of $1.74 billion
above the previous year.
The resolution also includes important policy
victories, including alteration of the dysfunctional
voucher funding distribution system, which has been
in place since 2004 and has cost the nation 150,000
housing vouchers. Other important policies include
extended authorization for HUD's Mark-to-Market,
HOPE VI and homeless assistance programs through
This bill is a major victory for housing advocates and
residents of public and assisted housing, providing
much-needed and long-awaited resources to under-
funded housing programs. Thank you to all those who
responded to CRN's Advocacy Alert and contacted
their Representative - stay alert as the Senate is
expected to take up the bill within the next couple
||Click here for more information on the passage of the House bill ...
|Federal Housing Platform Unveiled
The CRN federal housing preservation agenda for
national work with other organizations, key Illinois
congressional lawmakers who enjoy seniority and can
have an impact on legislation was distributed at the
Jan. 25 membership meeting. Anyone who wishes to
receive a copy of the agenda can contact Gene
Moreno at 312 663-3936, or e-mail
The federal agenda calls for:
- Appropriation of funds sufficient to renew expiring
- Provision of preservation funding matching grants
including for LIHPRHA.
- Appropriate sufficient funds to encourage renewal
of Rural Development housing.
- Reauthorize Multifamily Assisted Housing
- Renew Section 311, Upfront Grants, and other
policies to preserve HUD Troubled Properties.
- Renew authority of Section 318 to facilitate
transfer of project based Section 8 contracts.
- Reactive and fund Section 514 technical
- Ensure preservation as an eligible use of National
Housing Trust Fund proposal.
- Provide for preservation incentives for expiring
mortgages including tenant protections.
- Extend enhanced voucher provisions to replace all
units, not just currently occupied.
The agenda also includes:
- Eliminate eligible project status for Sec 8 Mod
Rehab properties seeking LIHTCs.
- Clarify state and local authority to enact
- Ensure that owners remain bound by Section 8
rules until one year after legally sufficient notice.
|Chicago Defender, Media Coverage Highlights Housing Trends Study
The Chicago Rehab Network's Housing Trends study
was featured on the Jan. 24 cover of the Chicago
Defender newspaper. Two days later, the Defender
ran an article with mayoral Bill "Dock" Walls
presenting his plans for affordable housing.
Kevin Jackson, Chicago Rehab Network executive
director, also appeared on the Roland S. Martin Show
on WVON-AM radio to discuss the study. In addition,
the North Lawndale Community News (west side),
News-Star Pioneer Press newspaper (north side), and
the Chicago Crusader and Chicago Citizen (south
side) also covered or mentioned the study.
The piece also referred to the Chicago Rehab
Network Housing Trends Study. Read it here
||Read the Defender article on the Housing Trends Fact Sheet ...
Bethel New Life will hold its 21st Annual
Gumbo Gala and Awards Ceremony, 6 pm to 10 pm,
the Great Hall at Union Station, 225 S. Canal St., in
downtown Chicago, on Feb. 13.
We wish a fond farewell to Sara Jane Knoy,
who is no longer with ONE, but was a stalwart
advocate for a decade.
We also mark with sadness the closing of the
Neighborhood Capital Budget Group, which
ceased operations as of Feb. 1. In a notice send to
friends and allies, NCBG said that after years of
funding difficulty, changing funding streams and
efforts to secure new funding, the organization
simply could not sustain itself. The notice also
announced a March 15 reunion celebration of NCBG’s
achievements at the Garfield Park Conservatory
Community Room, 300 N. Central Park Avenue. The
event is scheduled for 5 pm to 7 pm. We applaud
NCBG for its fine work, a contribution that will be