Report finds only 36 affordable, available rental homes per 100 extremely low-income renter households in Illinois

 For Immediate Release: April 21, 2022
Contact: Kristin Ginger, Manager of Communications & Development, Housing Action Illinois, or 312-854-3333

CHICAGO, IL – The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Homes, a new report released today by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) and Housing Action Illinois, finds a national shortage of 7 million affordable and available rental homes for the lowest-income households. Every year, The Gap reports on the severe shortage of affordable rental homes available to extremely low-income families and individuals. Based on data from 2020, these are among the report’s key findings for Illinois:

  • There are only 36 affordable and available rental homes for every 100 extremely low-income renter households in Illinois.
  • 452,786 extremely low-income renter households live in Illinois.
  • Extremely low-income renters face a shortage of 288,917 affordable and available rental homes.
  • 71.2 percent of these extremely low-income renter households are severely housing cost-burdened, spending more than half of their incomes on housing, with little left over for other basic necessities.

The lack of affordable rental homes is an issue that particularly matters for communities of color, especially refugees. This concern is only made more urgent by recent developments in Afghanistan and Ukraine and the United States’ commitment to return to resettling more individuals and families.

“Refugees are severely impacted by the lack of affordable housing,” stated David Zverow of Refugee Action Network. “Even with the modest amount of short-term financial assistance they receive, refugee families are typically among the severely housing cost-burdened renters trying to navigate the extreme shortage of rental units as they work to create a new life here in the United States.”

Although the federal government took unprecedented actions to protect the lowest-income renters during the pandemic, emergency rent assistance distributed by state and local governments does not address the long standing shortage of affordable rental housing.

“As Congress begins work on next year’s federal budget, we need to significantly boost resources to make sure our lowest income renters can afford a home,” stated Bob Palmer, Policy Director at Housing Action Illinois. “We need to make Housing Choice Vouchers available for 200,000 more households across the nation, as well as increase funding to preserve and operate public housing, expand services and housing to end homelessness, and fund more legal assistance to prevent evictions.”

For additional information, visit:

    Illinois profile from The Gap 2022 report


    About Housing Action Illinois

    Housing Action Illinois is a statewide coalition that has been leading the movement to protect and expand the availability of quality, affordable housing in Illinois for 35 years. Our 160+ 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.