The CECD is a neighborhood group that advocates for increased affordable housing options in Hyde Park and Kenwood. On Saturday, it released the results of two-year study of changes in neighborhoods’ housing stock from 2000 to 2010.
“[The] data suggests families with two or more children have limited options in the Hyde Park-South Kenwood rental housing market,” says the study, prepared by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago and consultants at Strategies for Community Economic Development and Finance.
One- and two-bedroom apartments, according to the study, dominate Hyde Park’s rental housing stock. Only 17 percent of units are three bedrooms or more and apartments of all sizes tend to be more expensive than the city average. Eighty percent of renters in three-bedroom units and 65 percent of renters in two-bedroom units pay $1,000 or more a month, according to the study.
“My favorite chart is Figure 5.3, rent burden in Hyde Park and Kenwood,” said George Rumsey, chair of the CECD.
The chart shows a sharp increase in the amount of income Hyde Parkers are devoting to rent. More than half of renters now pay more than a third of their income towards rent, up from a third of renters in 2000. These burdened renters mostly live in East Hyde Park and are 35 or older, according to the study.
Elevator buildings, which the study identifies as the least affordable, dominate East Hyde Park east of the Metra tracks. Many of these buildings were rehabbed in the past 10 years and have come back on the market charging higher rents.
The study says seniors and the poor struggle the most to find a home in Hyde Park.
“There is a clear shortage of affordable units at the lowest end of the housing spectrum,” the study says. “Given current housing prices and unit size availability, it means people may be leaving the community in search of more affordable rental housing that is a better fit for their household size.”
Because of the limited vacant land in Hyde Park, the report recommends working with landlords to find suitable affordable housing subsidy programs for the neighborhood.
“Another option would be to partner with the new Cook County Land Bank to acquire foreclosed properties that could be rehabbed and converted to meet the affordable housing needs of CECD’s target populations,” the study says.