We need to ask our members of Congress to support affordable housing priorities by whatever means possible: an infrastructure/stimulus package, the appropriations process and/or stand-alone legislation.
Please join us in asking Illinois' federal Senators and Representatives to stand strong and champion:
We urge this at a time when there are only 39 affordable and available rental homes for every 100 extremely low-income renter households in Illinois.
Across the state, there are 442,175 extremely low-income renter households, but only 174,086 affordable rental homes are available to them—a shortage of 268,089.
Extremely low-income renter households are those with incomes at or below the poverty line, or 30% of their area median income. In 2020, this was an annual income of $27,300 or less for a family of four in the Chicago metropolitan area. In other parts of the state, the threshold is even lower, such as in the Peoria area, where it is just $23,880.
More than two-thirds of these extremely low-income renter households are severely housing cost-burdened, spending more than half of their incomes on housing, with little left over for other basic necessities.
Even before COVID-19 devastated many low-income households, they were already struggling to afford their rent.
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 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 for housing for people with disabilities.
A person with a disability receives SSI benefits of $794.00 per month. Renting the average studio or one-bedroom apartment costs more than that entire monthly income.
Only one in four households who 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, and affordable housing for refugees can improve outcomes for adults and children for health, education, and economic stability.
According to the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) Annual Survey of Refugees 2017, only 14 percent 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 due to large numbers entering the labor market in the service industry upon arrival and experienced job instability and loss.
Housing Action Illinois is a state partner with the Opportunity Starts at Home Campaign, a multi-sector campaign to meet the rental housing needs of the nation’s low-income people.
Want to learn more? Interested in getting involved? Email Housing Action's Housing Policy Organizer, Sheila Sutton »
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