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A Quarter Of Illinois Renters 'Severely Burdened'

Make Room and WNIJ News

More than one fourth of 736,000 renters in Illinois’ ten largest cities spend more than half their income for housing.

Some 207,000 renters -- or 28 percent -- spend more than half their household income on rent and utilities, a level which housing experts consider a “severe” burden. Statewide, 27 percent -- or 439,958 households -- pay unaffordable rent.

Among northern Illinois cities, the highest rate of severely burdened renters is in Rockford, with more than 28 percent --  8,600 of the estimated 30,400 renters in the third-largest city.

Elgin renters fare best among the state’s 10 largest cities, with just over 19 percent of them severely burdened. The rate in Aurora is 25 percent.

The highest rate of severely burdened renters among the top 10 cities was in the state capital, at 31.5 percent. Statewide, the rate is 27 percent.

These figures were released by Make Room, a national advocate for renter issues. They say the Illinois budget impasse has frozen $25 million in federal funds already allocated for 20 affordable housing projects under way around the state, complicating the cost-of-housing issue.

Nationally, 11.4 million families -- or one in four U.S. renter households -- spend at least half their income on rent.

Below is a breakdown of the number and percentage of severely burdened renters in the most populous cities in Illinois:

A sponsoring partner of the Make Room campaign is Enterprise Community, supported by the MacArthur and Ford Foundations.