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The Housing Gap in Champaign, Vermilion counties

The income of residents in Champaign and Vermilion counties has not kept pace with the increase of rent and as a result affordable housing is becoming harder to find.  

Champaign and Vermilion counties have seen many changes in their neighborhoods and housing stocks since the nation’s economic decline. Among the challenges: more renters are competing for safe and affordable housing; a growing demand is putting stress on existing assistance programs; people sometimes have strong, often negative perceptions of low-income housing.

Illinois Public Media and are taking a comprehensive look at housing issues during a day of programming Tuesday, March 27, on WILL-AM 580, WILL-TV and online.

The initiative looking at these issues and others will culminate that night in a live program, "Housing: A Basic Human Need," at 8 p.m. on WILL-TV, featuring video stories about housing in the two counties and a roundtable discussion with local experts. 

We explore these housing gaps in home ownership, renters and what some are doing to help meet this basic need.



Rents on the rise in local counties

Census data from 2000 and 2010 and recent housing studies shows there are more renters, but that many can’t afford to pay fair market rent. The data and studies also reveal that the number of vacant units has skyrocketed.

Key findings

Over the past few months, we've reviewed federal and local reports and Census data on gaps across affordable housing. We've looked at demographics on home ownership, renters and household income. Here’s a look at what we found.

Vacant property

Increases in the number of vacant housing units have prompted action nationwide, including moves by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn to make better use of vacant property.

Public Housing

Demolition of public housing units have some advocacy groups concerned that housing for the lowest-income residents are diminishing.


These videos feature affordable housing solutions in Danville and Rantoul, including a renovation of a historic apartment complex and the creation of a new neighborhood now being modeled across the country.

Illinois Public Media

Illinois Public Media and collaborated on this project. Listen to experts talk about the issues on these radio and television programs and join the conversation during a live chat at 9 p.m. Tuesday on See full release


Review our past coverage of issues in local neighborhoods around Champaign County, including the area's largest Hispanic community, gaps in the rental housing inspection and a residential neighborhood zoned for heavy industrial use .

Data, maps and reports

See the data and reports we used to cover this story, including an interactive map with housing demographics for places in Champaign and Vermilion counties.

Discover More

Talk on Twitter #cvhousegap


Produced by Pam G. Dempsey in collaboration with Illinois Public Media
Photos by Darrell Hoemann
Former University of Illinois journalism graduate student Landon cassman contributed to this report