The Senate and House are entering what may be final negotiations on the Build Back Better Act, an infrastructure and economic recovery package. As members of Congress in Illinois identify their funding priorities, it's very important that they hear from constituents that affordable housing funding should be preserved—especially as the overall size of the $3.5 trillion proposal becomes subject to reductions.
Urge your members of Congress to support key affordable housing priorities for rental housing and homeownership, including:
Other key funding priorities include:
Providing decent, affordable, stable housing is a human capital investment.
When people live in homes that are affordable, they can spend more of their income on other essential needs, benefiting themselves and the entire local economy.
Moreover, investing in housing creates construction jobs and economic growth through the sale of building materials.
Copy and paste any of the suggestions below into the sample email to the right to bring attention to the issue that has the most meaning for you.
Affordable Rental Housing
There are only 39 affordable and available rental homes for every 100 extremely low-income renter households in Illinois. Statewide, the overall shortage of affordable and available units for extremely low-income households is 268,089. Across Illinois, most waiting lists for Housing Choice Vouchers are closed. For those fortunate to be on a waiting list, the wait to secure a voucher can be years or decades long.
Homeownership can be a powerful way to build wealth. When affordable, a home can offer families stability and be a valuable asset to pass on to future generations. For people who have faced systemic obstacles to homeownership, primarily people who are Black, owning a home can help build generational wealth and narrow the racial wealth gap. In Illinois, 65.3% of households are homeowners, but they are 1.6 times more likely to be white than a person of color.
Equitable Neighborhood Investment
Eliminating prohibitive zoning that discourages affordable housing development will provide more options for people with lower incomes to secure affordable rental housing and affordable homeownership. We are advocating for the infrastructure bill to include funding for a new initiative, originally proposed by President Biden, to award funding to local governments that take concrete steps to eliminate needless barriers to produce affordable housing and expand housing choices for people with low or moderate incomes.
Affordable Housing Creates Opportunity for Young Children
When a family’s housing situation is unaffordable and unstable, chances to lead a healthy life dwindle rapidly.
Quality affordable housing can be a “vaccine” which prevents long-term health problems and promotes healthy, productive lives.
Young children who move frequently are at increased risk of adverse health conditions, including developmental delays, behavioral problems, poor mental health, and delays in school readiness.
Unaffordable and unstable housing increases healthcare costs, particularly emergency hospital visits and asthma hospitalizations.
Affordable Housing Creates Opportunity for People with Disabilities
Increasing the amount of rental subsidies available is key to housing for people with disabilities.
A person with a disability receives SSI benefits of $794 per month. Renting the average studio or one-bedroom apartment costs more than that entire monthly income.
Only one in four households that qualify for housing assistance receives it due to decades of chronic underfunding by Congress.
Millions of eligible households are on waiting lists—often for several years—waiting for help.
Affordable Housing Creates Opportunity for Refugees
Access to decent, stable, affordable housing for refugees can improve health, education, and economic stability outcomes for adults and children.
According to the Office of Refugee Resettlement Annual Survey of Refugees 2017, only 14% of respondents were receiving housing assistance four to six years after arrival, but still 74% reported being renters.
The expansion of affordable rental housing is key to refugee success, particularly housing that is not only affordable but adequate to the task of housing larger families.
Refugees were particularly hard hit during the pandemic; many work in the service industry and have experienced job instability and loss.
Your message will have more impact if you share your own perspective or story about the importance of affordable housing to you, your organization, and your community.
You can also highlight additional issues by using the text available to the left. Try to put the messages into your own words.
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