The State of Housing in Illinois

April 23, 2008

In my last post, I suggested that the recipe for success in business is to find out what people need and want, and provide it for them.  I cited affordable housing as a critical need for millions of Americans.  Here’s a case in point…

According to figures published by Heartland Alliance, more than a third of the citizens of Illinois are experiencing distress because of high housing costs.  That means more than one out of three people is living in overcrowded or substandard conditions, or paying more than he or she can afford for housing.   Moreover, one million Illinois citizens are competing for 230,000 available affordable housing rental units.

As is true all over the United States, rents in Illinois continue to rise.  Home prices are increasing as well.  In 2002, the cost of buying a home rose from over 5% in rural Illinois to over 8% in the metro Chicago area.  Although the current problems in the housing market are causing some “correction,” the overall trend in housing costs is headed only one direction: up.

Homelessness is on the rise in Illinois, and the fastest growing group of homeless is families with children.  The Heartland Alliance report paints a poignant picture of life for homeless families.  The slide into homelessness often begins with a job loss or an illness.  Families in distress usually move in with relatives or friends, but in time, overcrowded conditions cause stress, and the families must move on, to shelters or to the street.  Homeless children suffer the most.  They experience hunger and health problems twice as often as other children, and they have mental health and educational challenges.  Every time children change schools, for example, they lose four to six months of academic progress.

Government agencies in Illinois are responding by offering generous grant and loan programs to investors and developers willing to provide affordable housing.  The City of Chicago sponsors one of the most creative and progressive array of programs of any city in the nation.  In addition to subsidies for the acquisition and rehab of single-family houses and multifamily projects, the City also gives away building lots.

Chicago also has great programs for residents.  One of my favorites is the Historic Bungalow Initiative.  Chicago’s older neighborhoods are filled with beautiful old bungalow homes, many of them in some disrepair.  Now Chicago citizens have access to grants and loans to buy and repair these classic houses.

The situation is Illinois is representative of the state of housing through the country.  In every metropolitan area, and in many small towns and rural areas, an increasing number of Americans is being priced out of the housing market. 

The response of government in Illinois is also representative.  Billions of dollars in real estate grants and loans are available to investors and to developers all over the country.  Recipients of these grants and loans need not live in the target area. In fact, in most cases the recipients need not even be American citizens, as long as the money is spent to benefit the community.

Often, the problem for investors is finding the programs, and understanding how to use them.  That’s why we’ve created our real estate grants product, The New American Land Rush: How to Buy Real Estate with Government Money:

The New American Land Rush is a resource that includes two books, two audio CDs, and eight data CDs.  It details every single federal and state real estate grant and low-cost loan program.  It describes the programs, tells you how much money is available, allows you to determine quickly if you qualify, and provides you with full contact information.  It also shows you how to work with government program managers and how to find all the local programs.  An actual sample real estate grant application is included for clarity.

The New American Land Rush website includes a brief, informative video, and testimonials with success stories.  Check it out at:


One Response to The State of Housing in Illinois

  1. » The State of Housing in Illinois on April 23, 2008 at 7:04 am

    [...] Jillian Wheeler released a post on The State of Housing in Illinois that may be of interest. Here’s a brief excerpt: [...]

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