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Housing is a basic human right—a sentiment confirmed by the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights—and a part of the American Dream for many Latino and immigrant families.

However, too many Latino families confront challenges—discrimination, rising costs, limited access to housing education and counseling, and inadequate supply and access to assisted housing stock and programs—in  accessing quality affordable housing. Given the growth of the Latino population in Metro Chicago and across the state, our economic stability and future fiscal growth depends on the extent to which Latino families have access to an adequate supply of quality affordable housing in proximity to employment, public transportation, and community facilities. Quality affordable housing not only meets social equity goals for Latino families, but also ensures community viability and stability for everyone.

Despite the importance of quality, affordable housing in growing strong, stable communities, more than half of Latino renters and homeowners struggle to meet housing costs. Many spend more than 30 percent of their incomes on housing expenses, an unsustainable “burden” on household income by industry standards. Given the disparity between income and housing costs, a growing number of Latino families contend with foreclosure, homelessness, and unsustainable living arrangements with extended family, commonly known as "doubling up."   

Making informed housing choices is critical to ensure housing retention and community symmetry. As housing counseling agencies already struggle to meet an increased demand in services given the sluggish economy and collapse in the housing market, many are unable to assist families with limited English-speaking ability.

Just as housing is a basic human right, housing choice is a phenomenon protected by law; however, housing choices are at times squelched by direct discriminatory actions or inactions that have a discriminatory effect, whether deliberate or not. While violations of fair housing laws and reports of discrimination are frustratingly under-reported, their effects are still evident amongst Latinos: In Illinois, among reported incidences of discrimination, over 40 percent of the basis for complaints are race-related. Anecdotal information also tells us that discrimination based on familial status and other protected classes under various fair housing laws limit housing choices for Latino families.

The Latino Policy Forum works to ensure that all Latinos, including low- and mid-income families, have access to quality, affordable housing. Read more about our housing goals and strategies or learn about our Housing Acuerdo



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