Illinois renters must earn more than $24 per hour to afford rent for a modest two-bedroom apartment

For Immediate Release: June 14, 2023
Kristin Ginger, Manager of Communications & Development, Housing Action Illinois, or 312-854-3333

CHICAGO, ILFull-time workers in Illinois need to earn $24.59 per hour to afford a modest, two-bedroom apartment at fair market rent. This is Illinois’ 2023 Housing Wage, according to a report released today by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) and Housing Action Illinois.

Other key findings from the report include:

  • A person earning the state minimum wage of $13 per hour must have 1.6 full-time job(s) or work 65 hours per week to afford a modest one-bedroom apartment.
  • A person earning the state minimum wage must have 1.9 full-time job(s) or work 76 hours per week to afford a two-bedroom apartment.
  • While the minimum wage in the Chicago area is higher, the Housing Wage in this area is also higher, climbing to $27.69.
  • Even in more affordable counties, the lowest the Housing Wage in Illinois goes is $14.88.
  • In Illinois, the average fair market rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $1,091. An individual receiving the federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefit of $913 per month can afford no more than $274 monthly.
US map from The Gap report showing how many affordable and available units are in each state

This year, we release the Out of Reach report in the wake of a debt ceiling deal that will lead to harmful cuts to programs that help renters and support the creation of affordable rental units.

“The debt ceiling deal is extremely damaging for federally-funded housing programs, such as Housing Choice Vouchers, Public Housing and Homeless Assistance Grants,” stated Housing Action Illinois Policy Director Bob Palmer. “Because the cost of providing housing in the private market has continued to go up, the spending caps that were part of the agreement to suspend the debt ceiling have the impact of a budget cut, reducing the number of people receiving assistance to help pay for a home.”

During the next fiscal year, FY24, HUD will need at least $13 billion more in funding to maintain current levels of service due to inflation, higher rents, and interest rate hikes. With limited resources and the need for substantial resources at HUD to maintain current levels of service, however, it will be challenging for Congress to keep housing and homelessness programs whole.

“I’m hoping everyone will support HUD budget increases for housing, because everyone needs a home,” said Hugh Brady, a board member for the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Illinois (NAMI Illinois), NAMI’s Barrington Area chapter, the Housing Task Force and the Alliance to End Homelessness in Suburban Cook County. “In the communities I know best, the northwest suburbs of Chicago, I have seen firsthand how community-based nonprofit organizations use HUD funding to create affordable housing for people who have been chronically homeless, often struggling with severe mental illnesses and other disabilities. To end homelessness, we need to significantly increase HUD funding, not reduce the number of people served.”

Released annually, the Out of Reach report calls attention to the gulf between wages and what people need to earn to afford their rents. The report shows that affordable rental homes are out of reach for millions of low-wage workers and other families. The report’s “Housing Wage” is an estimate of the hourly wage full-time workers must earn to afford a rental home at fair market rent without spending more than 30% of their incomes. Nationally, the 2023 Housing Wage is $28.58 per hour for a modest two-bedroom rental home and $23.67 for a modest one-bedroom rental home.

For additional information, and to download the report, visit:


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 more than 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.