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PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
5:14pm
Tue May 3, 2016

Illinois Budget Impasse 'Destroying' State's Mental Health Services, Providers Say

As the state budget impasse enters its eleventh month, Progress Illinois examines how mental health services and providers have been impacted.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
9:58pm
Thu Jun 25, 2015

U.S. Homeownership Rate Keeps Falling, While Tally Of Cost-Burdened Renters Hits Record High

The national homeownership rate continued its downward trend in 2014 as the share of U.S. renter households reached its highest level in 20 years, according to the annual State of the Nation's Housing report by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. A record number of U.S. renters are also facing housing cost burdens, the new research showed.

For the 10th straight year, the national homeownership rate dropped in 2014, falling to 64.5 percent. The rate ticked down to an even lower 63.7 percent in the first quarter of 2015.

The number of U.S. owner-occupied households fell for the eighth consecutive year in 2014, dropping by 233,000.

"Perhaps the most telling indicator of the state of the nation's housing is the drop in the homeownership rate to just 64.5 percent last year," the Joint Center for Housing Studies's Managing Director Chris Herbert said in a statement. "This erases nearly all of the increase from the previous two decades. In fact, the number of homeowners fell for the eighth straight year, and the trend does not appear to be abating."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
6:11pm
Mon Apr 13, 2015

Despite Initial Surge, Local & Federal Policies Tamp Out Renewable Energy Growth In Illinois

A recent report by the Environmental Law and Policy Center (ELPC) shows that over 400 Illinois companies are now tapped into the state's clean energy supply chain for solar and wind projects.

The local solar industry supply chain includes 237 Illinois companies, including those providing installation, electrical and consulting services. The other 170 Illinois companies are working in the state's wind industry supply chain, comprised of manufacturers and diagnostic software designers as well as engineering, legal, financial and consulting firms. Collectively, the 400 plus Illinois wind and solar companies employ more than 20,000 workers, according to the report.

By comparison, there were 152 wind and 96 solar companies tied to the Illinois clean energy supply chain in 2011, according to a previous ELPC analysis.

"When a wind turbine goes up in rural Illinois, it doesn't sprout from the ground," said ELPC's Executive Director Howard Learner. "Every piece of that turbine and that wind machine ... (is) manufactured by skilled laborers and manufacturing workers" at firms located in Cicero, Elgin and Rockford, to name a few places.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
1:08pm
Tue Aug 12, 2014

Report: High Housing Costs Persist For Millions Of Americans, Renters Hit The Worst

The U.S. housing industry saw some progress in 2013 due in part to increased housing construction as well as rising home prices and sales, according to the annual State of the Nation’s Housing report by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University.

Despite areas of improvement, however, the report found that homeownership rates are still trending downward, low-income households face persistent challenges finding affordable housing and millions of Americans continue to grapple with high housing costs.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:52pm
Mon Jan 20, 2014

Report: More Chicagoans Turning To Public Transit, Biking As Driving Declines (UPDATED)

Fewer people in the Chicago "urbanized area" are driving, while more are biking and taking public transportation, a recent report from the Illinois PIRG Education Fund shows.

The national study examined the changing transportation trends in America's 100 largest urbanized areas, which are defined as regions larger than a city but smaller than a metropolitan area.

In the Chicago area, the number of workers commuting by car declined by 2.1 percent between 2000 and the years between 2007 to 2011, according to the report, which reviewed available data from the Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration and U.S. Census Bureau. (The “2007 to 2011” time period is in reference to the data collected by the 2011 American Community Survey, a five-year survey covering 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011). Meanwhile, Chicago households without a car increased by 1.1 percent from 2006 to 2011.