Raising minimum wage to $15 would increase tax revenue by $2.4 billion in Illinois AND increase housing affordability

Raising the minimum wage stands to impact Illinois workers’ ability to sustain families and cover expenses including high housing costs. Whether in the form of rent or mortgage payments and maintenance costs, housing costs make up the largest monthly expense for most households. However, a common concern is that raising minimum wage may actually increase unemployment.

Findings from our report The Impact of a Minimum Wage Increase on Housing Affordability in Illinois suggest that raising the minimum wage will not only increases housing affordability, it will raise tax revenue and have minimal impact on employment levels. This report is timely, as minimum wage bills make their way through the legislative process. Continue reading

How Accessible is Chicago Transit to Persons with Disabilities?

By Lauren Nolan, AICP

This year marks the 25th Anniversary of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA aims to open all the doors to equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, integration and economic self-sufficiency for persons with disabilities. One means to this end is increasing access to opportunities through accessible transportation options.

Chicago has an extensive transit system spanning seven different elevated train lines and hundreds of bus routes.  Some of these lines run 24 hours a day.  But how accessible is this transit wealth to Chicagoans with disabilities?  And are there disparities in access between the disabled and non-disabled population?

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Investment Without Displacement: Communities Gather to Discuss Gentrification at the Voorhees Center Symposium

By: Charles Dabah

On May 1 the Voorhees Center hosted Taking Control of Our Neighborhoods’ Future, a symposium to discuss the Center’s recently released report on gentrification and neighborhood change titled The Socioeconomic Change of Chicago’s Community Areasalso known as the Gentrification Index. Over 50 people from around Chicago — professionals, foundation officers, community activists, students and professors — participated. Many shared their personal and professional experiences of confronting neighborhood change, creating a space for individuals from all corners of the city to partner and develop collaborative solutions that address the impact gentrification can have on communities. A common concern is the real and potential displacement of lower income families from these neighborhoods and the seemingly lack of control over gentrification once it starts.

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A Deepening Divide: Income Inequality Grows Spatially in Chicago

By: Lauren Nolan, AICP

A recent study completed by the Brookings Institution ranks Chicago 8th in income inequality among the nation’s largest cities. Yet, there is more to Chicago’s inequality story. Research completed by The Voorhees Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago in partnership with Cities Centre at the University of Toronto reveals that not only has inequality in Chicago been growing over the last 40 years, it also exhibits strong spatial patterns. Chicago is now a highly-polarized city absent of middle class households that in 1970 made up nearly half the city. By 2010, the number of wealthy census tracts had increased nearly four-fold with a visible concentration on Chicago’s North Side, while tracts that are very low-income and with high rates of poverty expanded on the South and far West sides.

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