• Supply of Affordable Apartments Not Keeping Up with Demand

    The rent on the South Shore apartment Veeda Pryor has been living in since March used to be $700 a month, but the landlord reduced the price to $650 after the apartment was burglarized. The Chicago Tribune reported on November 15, 2011, that Pryor is now searching for what would be the fifth apartment she and her family have lived in since 2009. The college graduate, substitute teacher and mother of two teens told the Tribune that while living in one apartment with a monthly rent of $550, she had to use the oven for heat because the space heater supplied by the landlord short-circuited the apartment’s lights.

    According to the Tribune, nearly 483,000 renters in Cook County needed affordable housing in 2009, but less than 303,000 rental units were considered affordable. According to a report from DePaul University’s Institute for Housing Studies, another 44,000 affordable apartments will be needed by 2020 because of various demographic and economic changes shaping the market.

    While the DePaul report was based on the most recent census data and foreclosure and rent statistics, what the Tribune called a “potentially dire situation” is not just the result of neighborhoods crippled by the number of residents needing foreclosure help . Instead, rents are rising as household incomes are falling. While that problem has led file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy , the Tribune said the emerging trends makes younger renters even more at risk. Median rents increased 14 percent in the city and 13 percent in Cook County’s suburbs between 2005 and 2010 while income declined 25 percent between 2000 and 2009 among renters younger than 25.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy attorney

  • Will Metra Fare Increase Derail Your Budget?

    Chicago area commuters who have been using the Metra train lines instead of paying the rising costs of gas for driving may soon be reconsidering their options. The Chicago Tribune reported on November 11, 2011, that the board of directors for the commuter rail division of the Illinois Regional Transportation Authority approved fare increases averaging 25 percent, the largest single fare hike in the agency’s history and the biggest jump in nearly four years.

    Metra officials told the Tribune that the increases are necessary to help close an anticipated $53.6 million budget gap in 2012. Metra spokeswoman Judy Pardonnet said about 80 percent of 7,000 respondents to an online survey said if given a choice of reduction in service or fare increase, they would take the increase. “People are pretty set in their schedules and they strongly opposed service reductions,” Pardonnet told the Tribune.

    Metra CEO Alex Clifford warned that commuters can expect more increases in the future, but they will be more frequent and smaller. Under the plan which goes into effect Feb. 1, 2012, one-way tickets will increase an average of 15.7 percent across all fare zones, ten-ride tickets will go up an average of 30 percent and monthly passes will increase an average of 29.4 percent.

    For those already struggling through hard times, the additional cost of getting to and from work may lead to additional families seeking foreclosure help . If you are having difficulty paying your mortgage and are concerned that transportation expenses are going to make a bad situation worse, you should speak to our Chicago bankruptcy lawyer about the possible benefits of filing for Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy attorney

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