Housing is still out of reach in Illinois

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According to a report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), the Housing Wage for the state of Illinois is $17.17 for a two-bedroom apartment, while the actual wage a renter in Illinois earns is $15.33.  The Housing Wage is the hourly wage a family must earn working 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year—to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment renting for $893- the average rent in Illinois.  The Housing Wage in Illinois has increased 32.5% since 2000.

The report, Out of Reach 2009, was jointly released by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), a Washington, DC-based housing advocacy group, and Housing Action Illinois.

Federal guidelines state that no one should spend more than 30% of their income on housing, including rent or mortgage payments, utilities, property taxes and insurance.

“The increase in the housing wage compared to a year ago suggests that the foreclosure crisis and the economic slowdown have actually driven up rental costs overall as competition for affordable rental units increases as fewer people are buying homes and people who lost their homes to foreclosure have reentered the rental market,” said Mimi Chedid, Policy Coordinator for Housing Action Illinois.  The housing wage for Illinois in 2008 was $16.23.

In Illinois, a minimum wage worker earns an hourly wage of $7.75. In order to afford market-rate rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Illinois, a minimum wage earner must work 89 hours per week, 52 weeks per year.  Or a household must have 2.2 minimum wage earners working 40 hours per week year-round in order to afford a two-bedroom apartment.

In Illinois, among metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas, the lowest Housing Wage for a two-bedroom apartment is $10.50 in the Bond County metropolitan area. The highest housing wage for a two-bedroom apartment is $19.31 in the Chicago metropolitan area.

An estimated 49% of renters in the Illinois area do not earn enough income to afford a two-bedroom unit at the Fair Market Rent.

Housing Action Illinois’ mission is to increase and preserve the supply of decent, affordable, and accessible housing in Illinois for low-and moderate-income households through advocacy, public education, and technical assistance to nonprofits.

Data for every state, metropolitan area and county in the country is available online, at www.nlihc.org/oor.


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