Funding for the affordable choice housing voucher program that currently aids 472 Evanston households is again up for debate in Washington.
Governing reports the Biden administration is seeking a small increase to the program to keep up with rising rental costs, but Republican leaders in Congress are considering demanding cuts to the program as part of debt-ceiling negotiations.
Illinois is in the middle of the pack among states in utilization of the program, formerly known as Section 8, that helps low-income tenants pay the rent in private-market apartments.
About 760 of every 100,000 Illinois residents have housing choice vouchers that on average subsidize their rent by just under $866 per month.
The Housing Authority of Cook County, which runs the voucher program here, has about 12,500 voucher holders spread across the Cook County suburbs, with 472 in Evanston.
In Evanston that works out to 605 voucher holders per 100,000 residents — or somewhat below the statewide average — but above the suburban Cook County average of 504 voucher holders per 100,000 residents.
Cook County Housing Authority Executive Director Richard Monocchio declined to provide a breakdown of where the voucher holders live within Evanston — either by ward or census tract.
The 472 housing choice vouchers in Evanston are in addition to the more than 1,300 affordable housing units mapped by Evanston Now in a story published earlier this month.
The housing choice voucher program is limited to families earning less than 50% of area median income, and three quarters of the vouchers are reserved for extremely low-income renters who earn less than 30% of AMI.
Nationwide the voucher program is said to benefit only about one in four eligible families.