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Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
2:54pm
Wed Mar 13, 2013

Female Mortgage Applicants Less Likely To Get Loans, Study Finds

Female mortgage applicants are less likely to have their loans approved than their male counterparts, according to a new report by the Woodstock Institute, prompting researchers to call for further investigation into gender discrimination in lending practices.

After studying 2010 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) data for the Chicago six county region, which includes Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, and Will counties, the Woodstock Institute found than “female applicants overall were about 8 percent less likely to have purchase mortgages originated and about 21 percent less likely to have refinance mortgages originated than were male applicants.”

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
5:32pm
Tue Mar 5, 2013

Illinois Among Nation's Worst In Affordable Housing For Extremely Low-Income Renters

Illinois’ extremely low-income renters are in dire need of affordable housing, according to a recent report issued by the National Low Income Housing Coalition and Housing Action Illinois.

According to the report, for every 100 extremely low-income households in Illinois, there are only 28 available and affordable rental homes. In Illinois, a family of four is considered extremely low-income if their annual income is less than or at $21,650, which is 30 percent of the area median income.

Extremely low-income renters typically spend more than half their income on rent, according to researchers.

“When you are paying 60 or 70 percent of your income toward your housing costs, there’s not much money left for the other necessities of life, such as food, medical costs or investing in your education,” said Bob Palmer, policy director for the statewide housing coalition, Housing Action Illinois.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
2:02pm
Fri Mar 1, 2013

Report: Racial Wealth Gap Nearly Tripled Over Last 25 Years, Home Ownership A Factor

Derived from a long history of discrimination, a staggering opportunity gap has widened financial disparities between black and white Americans, condemning African Americans to less home equity, according to a new report by the Institute on Assets and Social Policy (IASP) at Brandeis University.

After studying 1,700 American families for 25 years, the report examines the major causes of America’s racial wealth gap. Researchers found that the total wealth gap between white and African American families had almost tripled during the study, increasing from $85,000 in 1984 to $236,500 in 2009.

Quick Hit
by Steven Ross Johnson
3:52pm
Tue Jan 22, 2013

A Look At What The Cook County Land Bank Hopes To Accomplish

In an effort to reverse the problems that have cropped up in a number of communities over recent years as a result of the rise in vacant and abandoned properties, the Cook County Board voted last week to create a countywide land bank, a move Board Commissioner Bridget Gainer is hopeful will act as a first step towards economic revitalization for some of the area’s most blighted neighborhoods.

Last week, the Cook County Board voted unanimously in favor of forming the Cook County Land Bank Authority, which will be tasked with acquiring vacant and abandoned properties with the goal of making them taxable entities once they’re redeveloped.

Once up and running, the Authority will be geograpically the largest land bank in the country. Gainer said much of its focus, in the beginning, will be on helping communities that have been hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis.

“One of the things that I worried about when we traveled all over the county talking to people in these communities was that some of these communities are going to hit a point of no return with the percentage of vacancies,” Gainer said. “We’ve got to jump in and stop that from happening.”

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