In the News

News from around the web on issues affecting renters.

Gas Leaks, Mold, and Rats: Millions of Americans Live in Hazardous Homes

Gas Leaks, Mold, and Rats: Millions of Americans Live in Hazardous Homes: The Atlantic

There are about 135 million homes in America, and a surprisingly large portion of them pose threats to their residents: 30 million homes in the U.S. have serious health and safety hazards, such as gas leaks, damaged plumbing, and poor heating. About 6 million of those have structural problems. Another 6 million have lead paint.

One development ordinance does not serve all neighborhoods

For a closeup of our changing city, take a trip out to Milwaukee Avenue and look at the construction near the CTA's Blue Line stations. Thanks to Mayor Rahm Emanuel's 2015 "transit-oriented development," or TOD, ordinance, the corridor is gaining more than 700 apartments within a couple of blocks of its transit hubs.

The ordinance allows developers to dramatically cut the amount of parking per residential unit and allows more units on the same building footprint. It's an excellent strategy to fill vacant lots, develop underutilized parcels and build CTA ridership.

Council approves $20M property tax rebate program

No relief yet for renters
Council approves $20M property tax rebate program

With no apologies for the modest level of assistance, the City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved a $20 million property tax rebate to inoculate the mayor and aldermen from some of the political fallout from a record property tax increase.

The average rebate for the 155,000 eligible households will be $150. Senior citizens who own homes where the equalized assessed value has increased by 30 percent or more could get up to $300.

Chicago High-Rises Could Be Fined Thousands For Recycling Violations

A City Council committee endorsed stiff new fines for recycling violations Monday, but only as a "last resort" to compel compliance.

In a bid to get larger complexes from six-flats to high-rises to join in recycling, the Health Committee endorsed a hike in fines for not participating in recycling from the current $25-$100 range to $500-$1,000 for the first offense, $1,000-$2,500 for a second within 12 months and $2,500-$5,000 for subsequent offenses.

Emanuel urged to provide property tax relief for renters

Emanuel urged to provide property tax relief for renters

Aldermen and community leaders demanded Monday that Mayor Rahm Emanuel broaden the umbrella of his $21 million property tax rebate to include renters and thereby, they said, prevent working families from being squeezed out of gentrifying neighborhoods.

The Emanuel administration has rejected the rental relief proposed by rookie Ald. Carlos Ramirez Rosa (35th) on grounds that it would be “difficult and costly to administer and enforce.”

The U.S. government just made a simple change that could help millions of poor Americans

Where you live matters—and now, the government is taking a big step to help working-class families move into better neighborhoods.

The Elephant in Our Cities: Urban Gentrification

The Elephant in Our Cities: Urban Gentrification

One of the most disturbing trends not just in the American legal system but in our culture is the lack of priority we place on issues impacting the economically disadvantaged within our society. One example of this is seen in our media. Seldom does one hear about the terrorist attack that occurred in Africa on the front page of the New York Times. However, if that same attack occurs in Pairs it will likely be on tomorrows front page. This reality of our current culture is also present throughout many other issues in our society.

10 years after housing peaked, U.S. is more of a renter nation: Chicago Tribune

It's a troublesome story playing out across America in the 10 years since the housing bubble peaked and then burst in a ruinous crash: As real estate has climbed back, homeowners are thriving while renters are struggling.

For many longtime owners, times are good. They're enjoying the benefits of growing equity and reduced mortgage payments from ultra-low rates.

But for America's growing class of renters, surging costs, stagnant pay and rising home values have made it next to impossible to save enough to buy.

When King Came To Chicago: See The Rare Images Of His Campaign — In Color

Fifty years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. moved with his family to Chicago, where he was to spend a year laying the groundwork for bringing the civil rights movement to the North. The campaign came to be known as the Chicago Freedom Movement — a broadening drive against segregation, which was often as thorough in practice in the northern states as in the South, especially when it came to housing.

Bernard Kleina was there, too. The Chicago native and former Catholic priest documented the King-led demonstrations in the city — and he did so in rare color photographs.

The big change that could help poor people afford wealthier neighborhoods: Washington Post

In the Washington D.C. area, a federal housing voucher for a two-bedroom home will cover up to $1,623 a month in rent. That's $1,623 if the two-bedroom is in wealthy Dupont Circle or in lower income Congress Heights. In either neighborhood, the family pays what it can afford — 30 percent of its income. The Housing Choice Voucher program handles the rest.