Overall state Housing Wage is $28.81, and many Illinois renters must earn more than $30 per hour to afford rent for a modest two-bedroom apartment

For immediate release: June 27, 2024
Kristin Ginger, Manager of Communications & Development, Housing Action Illinois, kristin@housingactionil.org or 312-854-3333

CHICAGO, IL To afford a modest, two-bedroom apartment at fair market rent in Illinois, full-time workers need to earn $28.81 per hour. This is Illinois’ 2024 Housing Wage according to Out of Reach, a report published jointly today by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) and Housing Action Illinois.

In many areas, including Chicago and the collar counties, as well as in the Kendall County metro area, the Housing Wage is now well above $30.

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.

Other key findings from the report include:

  • In the Chicago-Joliet-Naperville metro area, the Housing Wage climbs to $32.96.
  • The highest Housing Wage in Illinois is in the Kendall County metro area, where it reaches $33.48.
  • Even in more affordable counties, the lowest the Housing Wage in Illinois is $15.52.
  • Based on the state housing wage, a person earning the state minimum wage must have 1.8 full-time job(s) or work 71 hours per week to afford a modest one-bedroom apartment.
  • Based on the state housing wage, a person earning the state minimum wage must have 2.1 full-time job(s) or work 82 hours per week to afford a two-bedroom apartment.

Nationally, the 2024 Housing Wage is $32.11 per hour for a modest two-bedroom rental home and $26.74 for a modest one-bedroom rental home.

With the cost of rent growing further out of reach for those with the lowest incomes and absent an adequate housing safety net, it is no surprise that homelessness has been on the rise. Even in Illinois, where the state has invested significant resources in preventing and ending homelessness, a growing population has no place to call home.

“During the past two years, Illinois has done a great deal at the state level to invest in preventing and ending homelessness by allocating significant new state funding to eviction prevention, shelter, and rapid rehousing programs,” says Housing Action Illinois Policy Director Bob Palmer. “But we need a much higher level of federal investment to increase permanent housing solutions, such as Housing Choice Vouchers, public housing, and supportive housing to end homelessness. Unfortunately, the budget proposal just released by House Republicans reduces funding.”

The House Republican budget proposal for next fiscal year, released on June 26, would fund HUD at $73.2 billion – $2.3 billion, or about 3%, less than the current year’s funding level. An example of the impact on specific programs is that the budget proposal includes no funding for new Housing Choice Vouchers, rejecting President Biden’s proposal for $241 million in funding for new vouchers. The House Republican proposal also makes significant cuts to public housing and many other programs.

In contrast, a proposal that would increase housing affordability is the bipartisan Family Stability and Opportunity Vouchers Act of 2023, which would create 250,000 new housing vouchers targeted to low-income families with young children and provide mobility counseling services to help families find housing options in the neighborhoods of their choice.

“I have had to move three times in the last two years. Working full-time plus a side gig [job] just doesn’t cut it,” says Amanda H., who is on the Leadership Team of the Collaborative on Child Homelessness – IL with the Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. “The worry of being able to provide stable housing is beginning to trickle down to my two young children who now are beginning to not only see but feel the effects of the lack of true affordable housing. My children are experiencing anxiety from being uprooted multiple times from their home, neighborhoods, doctors, and schools.”

For additional information, and to download the report, visit: http://www.nlihc.org/oor


About Housing Action Illinois

Housing Action is a statewide coalition that has been leading the movement to end homelessness, address the shortage of affordable rental housing, and expand homeownership opportunities 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.