U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Office of Community Planning and Development

Consolidated Plan Contact


The City of Chicago on the western shore of Lake Michigan is the third largest city in the United States with a population of over 2.7 million. Chicago has long been the transportation hub of the nation, and O'Hare International Airport is the world's busiest. The City is the home of major industries, international financial services, cultural institutions, national sport teams, and nationally recognized universities.

Action Plan

The Chicago Consolidated Plan presents a strategic vision for housing and community development. It includes a One-Year Action Plan for spending $124,286,019 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds (including program income), $31,683,000 in HOME Investment Partnership Program funds, $4,294,000 in Emergency Shelter Grant funds and $3,576,000 in Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS funds.

Citizen Participation

Long before the work of preparing the 1995 Consolidated Plan began, the City had already put in place an active citizen participation process that has fostered effective input into Chicago's community development planning and programming. The City works closely with an advisory board comprised of service providers, community leaders and others with expertise in community development. City staff consulted with the following groups to gain their input during the writing of the draft Consolidated Plan: Community Development Advisory Committee (CDAC), Affordable Housing Advisory Committee, Task Force on Homelessness, HIV Services Planning Council.

The draft plan was released for review and comment at an open public hearing on October 25, 1994. At that meeting, moderated by the Office of Budget and Management, staff of the Department of Planning and Development, Housing, Human Services and Health reviewed the City's planning process and explained the key needs and program priorities identified in the draft Consolidated Plan. A second public hearing was held on November 9, 1994 to receive written or oral testimony on the draft plan.

These meetings were publicized through notices in major newspapers (including publications targeted at the African American and Spanish-speaking communities), as well as a mass mailing to approximately 1500 community organizations, service providers and concerned citizens. Copies of the draft plan were made available at the Department of Planning and Development. In addition, the plan was distributed to some 40 local governments and other public agencies to promote intergovernmental communication and encourage further input.


Chicago's population decreased due to out migration throughout the 1980's. According to unadjusted 1990 Census figures, the population declined by 7.3% during this decade to 2,783,726. Chicago today remains a racially and ethnically diverse city. African Americans form the largest racial group(38.5%), followed by (non-Hispanic) Whites (37%), Hispanics (19.1%) and Asians (3.5%). Participation in the private housing market by many Chicago residents has been impeded by the difficult economic changes that the city and region have experienced over the past two decades.

Declining real wages have produced an increase in poverty among Chicagoans. Crime, drugs and other related urban problems have contributed to the deterioration of many Chicago communities. Over the decade, rent increases have exceeded the city wide inflation rate, and historical disinvestment in the inner city and barriers to credit have contributed to the deterioration of the housing stock in many neighborhoods.



Over the last two decades, Chicago's economy has changed from one rich with high-paying manufacturing jobs, leaving behind a work force unsuited for the new service economy. The 1990 Census revealed that manufacturing now employs about 20% of the work force, trailing business and professional services (35%); the other leading sectors are retail trade (15%) and finance and real estate (10%).

This economic transformation has dramatically affected Chicago's minority population, which constitutes an increasing percentage of the entry-level work force. At the time of the 1990 Census, unemployment for African American males was 22.4%, three-and-a-half times that of White males (6.4%).

Housing Needs

Chicago's housing conditions reflect the same circumstances confronting many of the nation's large cities. Substandard conditions, unit overcrowding and heavy rental and mortgage cost burden numerous households. Minorities, the elderly, people with disabilities and the homeless are particularly disadvantaged in their search for safe, decent and affordable housing.

Market Conditions

According to the 1990 Census, Chicago's total year-round housing stock has remained relatively stable since 1980, showing a slight decline of 3.5% to 1,133,039 units in 1990 from 1,174,028 in 1980. Occupied units total: 1,025,174, or 90.5% of all units. Of these, 58.5% are renter-occupied and 41.5% owner-occupied. On a city wide basis, homeownership rates among African Americans ( 33.7%) are substantially lower than that of Whites (48.7%).

Affordable Housing Needs

More than one-third (38%) of all Chicago households experience some form of housing problem (defined as excessive cost burden, physical defects or overcrowding). Excessive cost burden is the single most prevalent problem. Renter households with problems outnumber owner households by more than two to one. For very low-income households (below 50% MFI), housing problems increase substantially, especially among minorities. Large households are especially underserved by Chicago's housing market. In Chicago, 108,634 households reported incomes under $5,000 in 1989 and could be considered at risk of homelessness. Seventy-five percent of households at 0-30% MFI experience cost burdens exceeding 30% of their monthly income; 57% have cost burdens exceeding 50%

There is a significant lack of affordable owner and rental units for low- and moderate-income households. The combination of declining incomes and increasing housing costs has created substantial market inefficiencies. Vacant units at all levels of affordability are insufficient to meet the increasing need for livable, affordable units.

Homeless Needs

An accurate count of Chicago's homeless population is difficult to obtain. In FY 1994, City founded shelter programs served more than 18,000 clients. This population includes many with special service needs. Homeless persons with substance abuse problems number 21% and 34% of the sheltered and unsheltered population, respectively. Fifteen percent of the homeless are thought to be living with HIV disease. An estimated 12% and 8% respectively of the sheltered and unsheltered homeless suffer from severe mental illness. Domestic violence victims make up 8% and 1% of the homeless population.

Transitional shelters and supportive services are also needed to ensure that the homeless can move from transitional to second stage facilities and have a better chance at finding suitable housing.

Public and Assisted Housing Needs

The Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) is the city's leading provider of assisted housing. CHA administers more than 41,000 units in 1500 building throughout Chicago. Most of these units are over thirty years old. Approximately 9,000 are reserved for senior or disabled residents. The CHA's estimated total population of 126,000 includes as many as 40,000 illegal residents. In family developments, 45% of residents are children under the age of 14. The overall vacancy rate is 16%, but for individual developments ranges as high as 39%.

Barriers to Affordable Housing

The City determined that there exits barriers to affordable housing as follows:

Fair Housing

The City's Commission on Human Relations ensures equal housing opportunities by investigating, conciliating and adjudicating complaints arising under the Chicago Fair Housing Ordinance. This ordinance prohibits discrimination because of race, color, sex, marital status, religion, national origin, ancestry, disability, age, sexual preference, parental status, source of income and military discharge status.

Lead-Based Paint

The key factor in estimating the extent of lead-based paint hazards in occupied units is the age of the housing stock. Pre-1940 buildings have a 90% likelihood of containing lead-based paint, pre-1960 buildings have an 80% likelihood, and pre-1980 buildings have a 62% likelihood. In Chicago, between 799,206 and 866,808 housing units (almost 80% of all occupied units built before 1980) could include lead-based paint. About one-half of the units that are likely to contain lead-based paint were built before 1940, nearly one third are two-bedroom units, and over one-half are renter-occupied.

While all properties with lead-based paint do not pose exposure hazards resulting from deterioration, the number of units built before 1940 is a good indicator. In addition, units occupied by low-income renters tend to have greater exposure hazards due to the higher incidence of deterioration of these properties. Combining these two statistics, approximately 136,000 units are likely to possess lead hazards. There are an additional 533,515 to 652,073 renter and owner units occupied by low-income households (60% of all units built before 1980) that could present exposure hazards.

The City's Lead Poisoning Prevention program is responsible lead poisoning prevention through screening, medical treatment, case management and environmental testing. The program provides blood lead screening for children between six months and six years of age through door-to-door testing, clinical pediatric visits, child care sites and school health fairs. The Lead Program enforces the Municipal Code by conducting compliance hearings and prosecuting non-compliant cases through the court process. It also works with community groups to educate and advocate for the removal of lead hazards and to reduce the incidence of lead poisoning.

Community Development Needs

There is a need to stimulate economic development and employment opportunities in disadvantaged communities through targeted public investments and financial assistance.


Preparation of the Consolidated Plan was coordinated by the Department of Planning and Development, working closely with the Departments of Housing, Human Services and Health, the Chicago Housing Authority, and other agencies.


Vision for Change

The City's strategy is to better serve the needs of low and moderate-income populations through improving housing system production, promote neighborhood revitalization through a range of development activities and to provide for special-needs populations.

Housing Priorities and Non-Housing Community Development Priorities

Based on the City's housing and homeless needs assessment, the following priorities have been identified. Most of the strategies, programs and activities support several priorities and reinforce each other. For this reason, no ordinal ranking has been assigned to the priorities. Rather, they are grouped according to general areas of program activity.

  1. Serve the full range of constituencies among low- and moderate-income populations:
  2. Improve housing system production and efficiency:
  3. Promote community revitalization and stability through a range of development activities:
  4. Provide for special needs populations:
  5. Increase the supply and availability of resources addressing the needs of Chicago's homeless populations;
  6. Increase the number of affordable housing units, the number of affordable housing units with supportive services, for AIDS and HIV-infected persons, along with other special needs populations such as the mentally and physically impaired, frail elderly, abused women, and drug- and alcohol-addicted individuals;
  7. Increase the number of housing units and the flow of housing resources to areas with low-income (non-frail) elderly populations.

Anti-Poverty Strategy

Poverty continues to be a severe problem facing many Chicagoans. The Consolidated Plan has identified job creation and economic development as a component in the strategy to increase the supply of affordable housing, while at the same time reducing the incidence of poverty. Five program priorities have been identified for delivering services to needy clients:

  1. Deliver help to families by operating centers and outposts which provide neighborhood access to human services;
  2. Provide 7-day, 24-hour, on-site emergency services by mobile intervention teams and operate communications centers and hotlines for special at-risk groups;
  3. Deliver help to youth directly, fund and assist local groups providing youth services and build neighborhood-based service networks;
  4. Provide community education to protect children nd prevent child abuse and fund and monitor child development programs for children of low-income families;
  5. Recommend human service policies and goals and build capacity of community-based human service delivery systems.

Housing and Community Development Resources

Chicago has at its disposal a comprehensive array of Federal, State, County and City programs and resources which will be used to increase the supply of affordable housing units and to alleviate housing problems among its population.

Coordination of Strategic Plan

Providing the full range of needed services for homeless and low-income populations requires intense cooperation among public, private and not-for-profit agencies, along with the effective leveraging of limited resources.


Description of Key Projects

  1. Serve the full range of constituencies among low-and moderate-income populations.
  2. Improve housing system production and efficiency.
  3. Promote Community revitalization and stability through development activities.
  4. Provide for special needs populations.
  5. Increase the supply and availability of resources addressing the needs of the homeless.
  6. Maintain and expand City and community lead abatement initiatives.


MAP 1 depicts points of interest in the jurisdiction.

MAP 2 depicts points of interest and low-moderate income areas.

MAP 3 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and minority concentration levels.

MAP 4 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and unemployment levels.

MAP 5 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects.

TABLE (without associated map) provides information about the project(s).

To comment on Chicago's Consolidated Plan, please contact:
Michael Harris, Deputy Director
Office of Budget and Management
City Hall, Room 604
121 North LaSalle Street
Chicago, IL 60602
TTY: 312-744-3619
FAX: 312-744-3618

Return to Illinois' Consolidated Plans.