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“Housing Unaffordability and the Impact on Minority Communities in the City of Chicago”

Author: Carlos Morales

Department: UIC Institute for Policy & Civic Engagement

Advisor: Dr. Joseph K. Hoereth, IPCE

Abstract: Chicago residents are prevalently experiencing unaffordable housing. As almost 50% of Chicago households are cost burdened, a majority of Chicago families spend 30% or more of their income on housing alone. To address housing unaffordability, Chicago's Affordable Housing Requirements Ordinance (ARO) has provided affordable housing options and standards for low and moderate-income households since 2010. While the ordinance mandates the fair allocation of affordable housing units and investments in communities, there is currently a lack of affordable housing units in Chicago. This contributes to greater risks of homelessness, worsened income inequality, less educational attainment, worsened health outcomes, and decreased economic mobility. More so, this research will analyze the current context of Chicago’s housing unaffordability, the effectiveness of the Affordable Housing Requirement Ordinance (2010-Present) and areas for improvement toward affordable housing opportunities amongst minority groups. With findings indicating the ARO-built units are concentrated in specific communities, it is important to implement incentives for developers and landlords to uphold a more equal distribution of affordable housing units. Given that ARO requires income limits higher than the average median income (AMI), an adjustment of this standard and continuous monitoring of the AMI is critical.  As Chicago is predominantly made up of racial minorities (75%) with higher risks of economic barriers, housing affordability advancement will enhance the lives, health, and economic opportunities of many.

Keywords: minorities, affordable housing, wealth gap, average median income, race, southside, housing policies, wealth gap, housing development