Illinois Renters Must Earn Nearly $20 An Hour To Afford A Modest Two-Bedroom Apartment, Report Finds

Minimum wage earners in Illinois must work 97 hours a week, year round to afford a modest, two-bedroom apartment in the state, according to the annual "Out of Reach" report for 2016.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition and Housing Action Illinois jointly released the report, which shows that the gap between wages and rents continues to widen both nationally and in Illinois.

The Fair Market Rent (FMR) price for a two-bedroom unit in Illinois is $1,039, up from $977 last year. That means Illinois renters must now earn $19.98 per hour, or at least $41,567 annually, to afford a two-bedroom apartment without paying more than 30 percent of their income on housing. 

Overall, Illinois has the nation's 16th most expensive two-bedroom housing wage. Nationally, the average wage necessary to afford a modest, two-bedroom rental is $20.30.

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Undocumented Chicago Activist To Sue Federal Immigration Agency Over DACA Denial

An undocumented Chicago woman and activist plans to sue a federal immigration agency Wednesday, alleging her deferred action renewal application was unjustly denied because of her past participation in civil disobedience actions. 

Nadia Sol Ireri Unzueta Carrasco, 29, came to the United States from Mexico City at the age of six and has lived in Chicago ever since.

She is an organizer with the Chicago-based Organized Communities Against Deportations and has engaged in numerous protests over U.S. immigration policy. 

In March 2013, Unzueta Carrasco, who graduated from Whitney Young High School and the University of Illinois at Chicago, was granted a two-year protection against deportation under the 2012 federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. 

Her application to renew her DACA status was denied in August 2015. 

In denying Unzueta Carrasco's DACA renewal, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) cited "public safety concerns" with her case, pointing to her participation in civil disobedience actions between 2009 and 2013. The denial makes note of Unzueta Carrasco being arrested and charged with "civil disobedience, resisting arrest, obstruction of traffic and reckless conduct" in May 2013, shortly after she received DACA status.

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Housing Activists March Through Logan Square In Protest Of Gentrification

The voices of the displaced were heard throughout Logan Square on Saturday as demonstrators shouted and chanted over a bed of drums and shakers, calling on Ald. Joe Moreno (1st) to stop the gentrification of the neighborhood.

Local advocacy groups Somos Logan Square, Centro Autonomo and Grassroots Illinois Action came together for an action titled, "Our Neighborhood is Not for Sale."

The march started outside Moreno's office, located at 2740 W. North Ave., and eventually moved on to the nearby Twin Towers development.

Antonio Gutierrez, development coordinator of Centro Autonomo's housing project, says such actions are necessary because the alderman refuses to establish a dialogue with advocacy groups.

"We have tried to set up meetings, as we saw today [when] we went to his office," said Gutierrez. "They just looked out, locked the door. They didn't invite us in. That's what we're seeing with Joe Moreno, a closed-door policy."

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Op-Ed: Illinois Budget Impasse Is More Than A Political Standoff, It Is An Act Of Violence

The following is written by Maxx Boykin and Abbas Hyderi.

When we think of violence our thoughts may turn to top-of-the-news headlines: war, terrorist bombings, mass shootings, homicides, and police brutality. But there is a prolonged act of violence leaving thousands of casualties in its wake that should be added to the list: the state budget impasse.

You see, the inability--for nearly a year now--of Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democrats who control the General Assembly to pass a budget is more than a political standoff. It is what Norwegian sociologist Johan Galtung described in the 1960s as "structural violence," in which social institutions systemically harm people by preventing them from meeting their basic needs and reaching their full potential.

The word "violence" often conjures images of physical force, but Galtung used it to describe the social structures--economic, political, legal, religious, and cultural--that order our world. These structures turn violent, Galtung explained, when they cause injury to people by lowering "the actual degree to which someone is able to meet their needs below that which would otherwise be possible."

Institutionalized racism, sexism and ageism are just a few examples of structural violence. But we don't have to look too far for more.

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