Affordable housing FAQs

What is Affordable Housing?

Affordable Housing is defined as any housing for which a household pays 30% or less of its income for housing and does not interfere with their ability to obtain basic needs. However, within the western suburbs of Chicago, a combination of low wages and limited availability of affordable rental housing units has required many households to pay a much greater and disproportionate share of their income for basic housing.

Who lives in Affordable Housing?

The majority of people living in affordable housing are employed in occupations (such as service or retail) that do not require high levels of education and are characterized by relatively low earnings. In addition, many do not receive any public assistance and struggle to help themselves. It is a misnomer that affordable housing only benefits the very poor who may or may not be receiving public assistance. On the contrary, having access to affordable housing can positively affect employers, seniors, families on limited incomes, immigrants, veterans, the mentally disabled, entry-level and service sector workers, such as bank tellers, nursing assistants, call center staff, restaurant staff and retail sales clerks and public sector professionals, such as teachers, firefighters, EMTs and police officers.

Why is Affordable Housing Needed?

DuPage and Kane counties are home to many affluent communities making the area one of the most expensive in the country. Market conditions have placed upward pressure on housing prices forcing many lower income individuals and families to be priced out of the market. In addition, rents have steadily increased as a result of increased demand for rental housing stemming from the recent real estate foreclosure crisis. As a result, workers are commuting greater distances in order to secure housing and employers are having a difficult time attracting and retaining employees in the markets they serve.

Why Does Affordable Housing Matter?

Affordable housing is essential to supporting the health and well-being of our families and our communities. It provides more than shelter. It also provides an opportunity to share in our collective prosperity. Safe, decent and affordable housing provides an opportunity for individuals and families to stabilize their income and can result in a more positive environment. Stable housing provides access to better schools that can enhance performance, as well as work and social behavior. In addition, stable housing allows individuals and families to invest in their neighborhoods and their future.

Community Housing Advocacy and Development 531 East Roosevelt Road, Suite 200 Wheaton, IL 60187 (Map + directions) Phone: (630) 456-4452 Fax: (630) 580-9244

Office hours
Monday–Friday, 8:00am–4:30pm

From the community

“I don't have to worry anymore about people fighting and shooting in my neighborhood.”

—Gwendolyn H.


10.1% of children in DuPage County live in poverty CHAD helps families stay together.