New CNT Report Re-Examines Affordable Housing in Chicago Region
An analysis by CNT of the Chicago region’s affordable housing developments has found that some are not very affordable when transportation costs are considered. Typical transportation costs, the second largest expense in a household budget, ranged from $750 per month in many Chicago neighborhoods with affordable housing units to more than $1,000 in more distant suburbs. The report also found that suburban Cook County, which has comparatively low transportation costs, has fewer affordable housing units compared with the city of Chicago and the region’s collar counties.
“By definition, families living in affordable housing are guaranteed that their housing costs will not exceed 30 percent of their income, but transportation costs can negate that affordability if housing agencies aren’t careful about location decisions,” said Kathryn Tholin, CEO of CNT. “Illinois has made gains in siting affordable housing in communities that meet fair housing goals. Our report reveals that we could do better, by choosing locations that offer greater access to employment, better transportation connectivity, and improved access to amenities.”
CNT applied our Housing and Transportation (H+T®) Affordability Index to 248 multifamily properties financed by the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) from 2001 to 2008 in the Chicago region. The study reveals the average transportation costs in these locations and measures the degree to which residents enjoyed access to local amenities, regional jobs, public transit, and other opportunities—all major factors in the affordability equation. Safe, Decent and Affordable pulls together key findings and recommendations that IHDA can use to help improve access to jobs, lower transportation costs, and enhance livability for its affordable housing residents.