The National Low Income Housing Coalition recently released its annual report highlighting the financial burden that housing bears on low-income households. Based on federal guidelines, households spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing are deemed "rent burdened." Overall, 49 percent of Chicago-area renters earned too little to afford typical two-bedroom apartment last year.
We dug deeper in the numbers and found that the greatest mismatch over the past decade between earnings and housing costs falls on people living in some of the city's poorest, predominantly African-American communities. According to a Chicago Reporter analysis of census data, a vast majority of people living in the city's five most rent burdened communities are spending more on housing than federal guidelines recommend. At the same time, these communities have all lost ground on wages. Check out these numbers, which speak for themselves:
As we reported last year, the foreclosure crisis has only exacerbated the housing crunch for unwitting renters in many of these same communities. As a result, renters have had no choice but to get creative.
--Allison Clark and Angela Caputo