Housing and Urban Development

Kristin Walters / IL Newsroom

In Illinois, there are only 35 affordable housing units for every 100 families considered extremely low-income, according to Housing Action Illinois, a housing advocacy organization.

Housing Choice Voucher, also known as Section 8, is a federal program designed to make market-rate apartments accessible to people who wouldn’t be able to afford it otherwise. The voucher program covers part of the rent for around 97,000 families in Illinois.

In response to a call for questions on affordable housing, one Illinois Newsroom listener asked: “How does Section 8 work? It seems like a great program in theory that also seems really hard for families to access in practice.”

Richard Sitler / The Southern Illinoisan

The federal government returned the East St. Louis Housing Authority to local control last fall, a sign of confidence in the city's new leadership. But challenges remain, including millions of dollars in repairs and concerns about the conditions at its aging public housing complexes.

Paul Sableman

After reports of unlivable conditions at public housing in Cairo, Illinois, The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development took over the Alexander County Housing Authority earlier this year.

Southern Illinoisan reporter Molly Parker has been following the story. Illinois Issues editor Jamey Dunn checked in with her recently for an update. 

M.E.R.C.Y. Communities began helping homeless mothers and their children 15 years ago in Springfield. The work involved providing transitional and permanent housing, along with other services.

Fundraising and grants has helped cover costs.  But this year, word came that a federal HUD grant won't be renewed.   And unless that money is recouped, some services will be scaled back or eliminated.