Housing

Unaffordable and Unavailable

Adding up Chicago’s housing crisis

In Chicago, the housing crisis merely aggravated old wounds. Of the ten largest metropolitan areas in the U.S., Chicago ranked second for the greatest racial disparity in high-cost loans—loans with interest rates that the federal government considers substantially higher than the Treasury standard. In 2005, African-American families with an income of $100,000 were more likely to get such loans than white families with incomes under $35,000. Neighborhoods whose populations were already in decline were hit the hardest by foreclosures. Those who have been able to stay in their homes now face the impact of vacant and abandoned properties on their communities. 

The numbers below reflect what has been felt by renters and homeowners across the South Side and the city.

Number of housing vouchers the Chicago Housing Authority received federal funding for in 2012: 51,400

Number of vouchers the CHA issued in 2012: 38,000

Amount of reserve funds the CHA had built up by 2012, from not spending voucher money: $432 million

Number of Chicago households that applied for housing or housing vouchers when the CHA opened its waitlist last fall: 282,000

Year in which the CHA had last opened its public housing waitlist: 2010

Year it had last opened its housing vouchers waitlist: 2008

Number of five-year housing plans the city has released in the last two-plus decades: 5

First words after the table of contents in the 2014-2018 plan: “This Plan is Different”

Word that was dropped from the title of previous plans: “Affordable”

Total amount earmarked by the 2009-2013 plan: $2 billion

Total amount earmarked by the 2014-2018 plan: $1.1 billion

Number of times a five-year plan has earmarked less funding than the previous plan: 1

Percent of all Chicago renters who were cost-burdened (paid over 30% of their income on their rent or mortgage) in 2010: 50.2

Percent of renters who were cost-burdened in 2000: 37.9

Percent of homeowners who were cost-burdened in 2010: 49.5

Percent of homeowners who were cost-burdened in 2000: 27.8

Percent of Chicago homeowners with high-cost loans in 2006 who were African-American or Latino: 50

Percent with prime-rate loans who were African-American or Latino: 22

Percent of residential parcels that have filed for foreclosure in Washington Park since 2005: 44.5

In South Shore: 31.4

In South Lawndale: 22.3

Number of South Side community areas in which over a quarter of all parcels have filed for foreclosure: 18

Number of South Side community areas in which over 5% of all residences have been vacant for more than two years: 12

Number of South Side census tracts in which over 20% of all residences are vacant: 7

Amount the city budgeted for demolishing vacant buildings in 2014: $11.6 million

Amount the city spent boarding up buildings: $2 million

Amount the city has budgeted to spend on demolitions this year: $8.1 million

Amount it would have to spend to clear the current backlog of court-ordered demolitions: $35 million

Number of affordable housing units for every 100 extreme-low-income families in Cook County: 26

Number of homeless students in CPS during the 2013-14 school year: 22,144

Percent increase from the previous school year: 18.6

Percent of homeless students who were minorities: 98.2

Percent diagnosed with disabilities or developmental delays: 20

Estimated number of homeless people in Chicago during the 2013-14 school year: 138,575

Percent increase from the previous school year: 19.4

Sources: The National Community Reinvestment Coalition, the Chicago Reporter, Chicago Housing Authority, the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, the Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing, the Chicago Rehab Network, the Institute for Housing Studies at DePaul, the U.S. Postal Service and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Chicago Tribune, the Urban Institute, the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless.

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