For immediate release: March 14, 2024
Bob Palmer, Policy Director, Housing Action Illinois at 312-282-3959 or

CHICAGO, IL – A new report by Housing Action Illinois and the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Homes, finds that 451,737 extremely low-income renter households live in Illinois, but only 162,318 affordable rental homes are available to them, resulting in a shortage of 289,419 affordable rental homes for those with the lowest incomes.

In other words, there are only 36 affordable and available rental homes for every 100 extremely low-income renter households in the state.

For Housing Action Illinois, NLIHC also tabulated the shortage of affordable and available rental homes in Chicago. 

Chicago has a shortage of 126,125 affordable rental homes for those with the lowest incomes and only 32 affordable and available rental homes for every 100 extremely low-income renter households. Chicago has a population of 185,155 extremely low-income renter households, but only 58,990 affordable and available rental homes for people at this income level.

Housing Action Illinois is an endorser of the Bring Chicago Home campaign and believes that these data provide more evidence as to why voters should support restructuring Chicago’s Real Estate Transfer Tax (RETT), a one-time tax on properties when they are sold to create a substantial and legally dedicated revenue stream to provide permanent affordable housing for people experiencing homelessness.

“The funding created by voting yes on Ballot Question 1 in support of the Bring Chicago Home campaign will develop more rental homes that will end the homelessness of thousands of families across Chicago,” said Bob Palmer, Policy Director for Housing Action Illinois.

In the Chicago area, an extremely low-income household has an annual income of or below $33,100 for a family of four. For a single person, the annual income threshold to be considered extremely low income is $23,200 or less.

As in past reports, the data show that about three-quarters of all extremely low-income renters statewide, 74%, are severely cost-burdened, paying more than 50% of their income for housing. Severely-cost burdened renters are at risk of homelessness if they lose income, experience a rent increase, and/or have some other sort of economic crisis. In Chicago, the percentage is about the same (76%).

“The data and the moral imperative are clear: Bring Chicago Home is urgent and long overdue. Our city cannot allow this gap to grow or allow any more families to slip through the cracks due to lack of affordable housing,” said Vaughn Roland, Bring Chicago Home Political Director. ”A dedicated funding stream to address the needs of nearly 70,000 homeless neighbors will allow us to close this gap, as permanent housing is this campaign’s goal. The time is now.”

Learn more about The Gap by visiting: Learn more about Bring Chicago Home at


About Housing Action Illinois

Housing Action Illinois is a statewide coalition leading the movement to protect and expand the availability of quality, affordable housing in Illinois for more than 35 years. Our 180+ member organizations include housing counseling agencies, homeless service providers, developers of affordable housing, and policymakers. We bring everyone together to work toward our vision of an Illinois where everyone has a stable, good home.