Rising Above Rising Costs

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It seems these days, everywhere you go, the prices of everything from a pack of gum to the weekly groceries keeps increasing at a steady pace, including possible new fees and increases in taxes.

SCH turned to our dedicated counselors to find out more on how these costs will be affecting you and your community.  Financial Literacy Coordinator Ruthie Maldonado asserted that:

“Single mothers, two parent family households, single independents, and more are being affected by this increase to the cost of living. It is important, now more than ever, to ask yourself:

‘How can I prepare for the amount of expenses that are headed my way?’

If you have not started a budget or just have a hard time keeping up with one, now is the time to become best friends with the world of budgeting. This will be the foundation of a solid way of living. That’s where I come in, and I will help you through the process step-by-step.”

For some residents however, the effects of these tax increases, especially property tax increases, cannot be solved simply through better budgeting.  Many residents of the Humboldt Park, Logan Square and West Town are especially worried about massive increases to their property taxes with the recent opening of the Bloomingdale Trail, also known as the “606.”  As these tax increases are passed on directly to homeowners, even low-income homeowners struggling to make ends meet, SCH worries how these changes will effect our most in need residents. SCH’s Homeownership Counselor Madeline Morales remarked that:

“As a housing counselor I cannot help think these issues will cause a huge gap in the homebuying market. I strongly believe that the benefits of home ownership outweigh renting, but due to these changes, it will be a challenge to convince our clients of that.   As a counselor I am and will be faced with the tough questions such as 

‘What does the future of homeownership look like?’

‘What will be the effect on the greater Chicago area?’

As homeowners and potential homebuyers, we have to remember history.  The Huffington Post Chicago reported in February 2, 2011 that Chicago suffered a loss of over 180,000 residents due to the rising costs of living in the city over the last 10 years. That’s a 7% loss of its residents! Where did those families go?

According to a Chicago Tribune article from February 15, 2011, it looks like many are moving to suburbs like Aurora, Elgin, Joliet and Naperville. The reality that this might happen again begs the question,

‘What will be the cost for those who have no choice but to stay?’

It is difficult to predict what will come of Chicago and its residents, but I will keep serving my community to navigate these changes the best I can.”

Rumors about property tax increases near the Bloomingdale Trail have many local residents alarmed, especially when some families are seeing their neighbor’s annual taxes doubled over the previous year! This translates to thousands of extra dollars that local residents will have to budget out of their income.

Chicago Community Trust’s Brandon Thorne commented “Given the unforeseen impact of the 606 on the surrounding community it’s important that the residents are provided with the appropriate supports and resources that allow them to remain in their homes.”

SCH is here to help local residents with budgeting, tax appeals and helping keep your home affordable long-term, or find a new home that is right for you.  For private, confidential help, contact SCH and their counselors at 773-342-7575!

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