More than half of Chicago's renters are considered "rent-burdened," -- that is, they pay more than a third of their income for housing a report released Tuesday said.
Another third are spending half, or more, of their paychecks on rent.
The report, released by the Metropolitan Tenants Organization, a city-wide renter's rights organization, is intended to add renters' perspectives to policy discussions in the current housing market.
- Chicago's 1.3 million renters and rental households constitute the majority of housing units in Chicago, generating nearly $450 million in income in 2007.
- The number of rental units has grown in neighborhoods that have traditionally been occupied by homeowners.
- While the number of rental units grew, Chicago lost about 125,000 affordable units between 1990 and 2005.
- Rent prices are increasing. The household median gross rent in Chicago was $721 a month in 2000, and that rose to an estimated $821 per month in 2007 as incomes did not keep pace, the report said, citing U.S. Census data.
- Renters are impacted by foreclosure. The report said that a significant number of all residents that lose their home to foreclosure are renters.
"There's a misperception that because of the foreclosure crisis there's a surplus of rental housing," Sheila Crowley, the president and chief executive officer of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, told the Chicago Sun-Times. "There are high vacancy rates in the high-end rental housing market, but we're losing low-income housing units at a fairly rapid rate."