By Deborah Bennett, Senior Program Officer
Chicago has a shortage of affordable housing. The supply of affordable rental housing in Chicago – both subsidized and unsubsidized – is shrinking, and families increasingly have to stretch to pay their rent.
The reality is that 52% of renter households across Chicago spend more than 30% of their income on housing – the generally accepted standard of housing affordability. The situation is even starker for renter households earning less than $35,000, with 86% similarly rent burdened. As a result, these families have less money for food, medicine, education and enrichment opportunities for their children.
Preserving existing affordable rental housing is a viable solution to addressing Chicago’s affordable housing shortage. Polk Bros. Foundation has long supported the preservation of affordable rental housing, in large part because it is more cost effective, sustainable and greener than new construction.
This is the tenth year of the Polk Bros. Foundation Affordable Rental Housing Preservation Award. In 2009, to bring visibility to nonprofit and for-profit developers who are preserving rental housing at risk from expiring affordability contracts, physical deterioration or rising rents, we created the Polk Bros. Foundation Affordable Rental Housing Preservation Award, presented at the annual Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards held by LISC Chicago.
There are so many reasons to celebrate.
Congratulations to this year’s award recipient, Ansonia Properties, LLC, for Lake Village East. The ten projects recognized over the years by the Polk Bros. Foundation Affordable Rental Housing Preservation Award are providing safe, stable, affordable housing to more than 1,000 families and individuals.