Get the Facts

Affording Rent

  • In 2016, renters in in Illinois need to earn $19.98 per hour in order to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment. In order to afford rent and utilities without paying more than 30% of income on housing, a household must earn $41,567 annually.
  • Because our state’s minimum wage is only $8.25, that means a minimum wage earner must work 97 hours per week, 52 weeks per year, just to afford a two-bedroom apartment.
  • In Illinois, there are only 32 rental homes both affordable and available for every 100 renter households considered extremely low-income. 74% of these households are severely cost-burdened, spending more than half of their income on housing.The overall shortage of rental units affordable and available for extremely low income renters is 324,178.
  • With very few units available to them, 3 out of 4 extremely low-income renter households end up spending more than half of their limited income on rent and utility costs.
  • Households that are elderly, have a family member with a disability, include minorities, or are headed by females have a greater likelihood of having extremely low incomes than others. Low-income veterans also face severe housing cost burdens.
  • In 2016, a family of four in Illinois was considered by the federal government to be extremely low-income if their annual household income was at or below $21,400. For a single person, the amount was $15,000.


  • Based on point-in-time counts throughout Illinois on a single night in January 2016, there were 11,590 individuals in our state experiencing homelessness.
    • A majority of persons identified as homeless were staying in emergency shelters or transitional housing, but many were unsheltered, living on the streets, or in cars, abandoned buildings, or other places not intended for human habitation.
    • Families, e.g., households with at least one adult and at least one child, made up 4,604 people in the count.
    • Unaccompanied youth made up 719 people in the count.
    • Veterans made up 949 people in the count, an increase of 19% from the count in 2009.
    • There were 1,024 individuals who fit the definition of being chronically homeless, meaning they were living with a disability and staying in shelters or on the streets for long periods of time or repeatedly.
  • The people identified in the point-in-time count does not reflect the even larger number of people in poverty living “doubled-up” caused by the high level of competition for housing resources and the need to avoid unmanageable housing cost burdens. According to U.S. Census data, the number of people in poverty living doubled up in Illinois in 2014 was 259,484. Doubled-up households have a high-risk of homelessness. Nationally, living with friends or family due to economic need, or “doubling-up,” is the most often cited previous living situation for individuals and families entering the homeless system.
  • In 2014, 7 million people in poor households were doubled up with family and friends, the most common prior living situation before becoming homeless. This represents a 9% decrease from 2013 and the first significant decrease in the size of this at- risk population since the Great Recession. 47 states and D.C. had decreases. Still, the number of people in poor households living doubled up is 52% higher now than in 2007, prior to the recession.

People with Disabilities

Foreclosures and Homeownership

  • In 2016, Illinois had the fifth highest foreclosure filing rate in the nation, with 1.10% of all housing units having at least one foreclosure filing. This represents a 12 percent decrease from 2015, when 1.26% of all housing units in Illinois had at least one foreclosure filing. Nationally, foreclosure filing rates in 2016 were down 14 percent compared to 2015 and at their lowest level since 2006.
  • Homeownership can be a powerful wealth-building strategy for low- and middle-income households, and housing tends to appreciate (modestly) in value, but homeownership is still out of reach for millions of Americans. 63% of Americans own their homes, down from a peak of 69% in 2004; 1.6 times as many white households are homeowners compared to households of color.