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Housing in Chicago

Whether you are relocating from across the country or just across town, these resources will help you secure housing ahead of service.

Find housing before you start service

You will be required to be living within the state of Illinois for the first day of service to allow you to focus on building relationships with your teammates, immerse yourself in training and adjust to your new neighborhood before the school year begins.

City Year provides the following housing and roommate information as a resource for AmeriCorps members as a courtesy. However, we do not assume responsibility for any issues that may occur with housing and roommate situations, nor can we advise you legally on housing matters.

When to start looking

We recommend starting the process of planning your housing early by:

  • Research on neighborhoods you want to live in
  • Being proactive in searching for roommates

You should plan to find housing and relocate to Chicago in time for your City Year Chicago Registration Day in August. Your Service Year Adviser will provide you more details regarding the time and date for registration day in the coming months.

Find more information about living in Chicago here.

Deciding where to live

We recommend that you choose where you want to live based on where you want to spend your free time. You should not wait for school placement. We won’t have a final list of partner schools until the summer months. Therefore, we cannot place AmeriCorps members on teams until after service year start date.

Most of our partner schools are on the west and south sides of Chicago – so look at the neighborhoods on the west and south sides that you like the most.

To view our schools from last year, and the areas in which they are located, click here.

Here’s a list of popular and affordable neighborhoods from our previous AmeriCorps members’ perspectives:

  • Southside
    • Hyde Park
    • Bridgeport
    • Bronzeville
    • Chinatown
    • South Shore
  • West Side
    • Logan Square
    • Humboldt Park
    • Ukranian Village
    • Pilsen
    • Avondale
    • Little Italy/University Village
    • Little Village
  • North Side
    • Rogers Park
    • Irving Park
    • Uptown
    • Lakeview

Finding roommates

It is your responsibility to secure roommates, but our confirmed AmeriCorps member team will connect you with other AmeriCorps members who are also looking for roommates in hopes that you can find others that you want to live with. We’ll send a survey that you can use to find someone in the corps who has similar living preferences as you. There are no specific housing requirements. You can choose to live wherever you wish, with whoever you choose. The majority of our AmeriCorps members live with other AmeriCorps members, but you’re welcome to live with family members, friends, AmeriCorps members from other programs, etc. We also recommend joining the City Year Chicago Facebook group to connect with fellow incoming AmeriCorps members. Even if you don’t regularly use Facebook, it’s a great way to get connected with fellow AmeriCorps members and potential roommates.

Budgeting for housing

Members find housing through online posting sites, word of mouth and sometimes on the City Year Chicago Facebook group (current members advertising their apartments). Postings should outline who to contact to learn more about the property, costs and lease terms. When renting an apartment, ask about the following fees as they frequently apply.

  • App fee/Broker’s fee – typically one month’s rent or a percentage or the annual lease
  • Security deposit – typically one month’s rent, returned at the end of the lease if the property’s condition is maintained
  • First month’s rent – typically due upon signing of the lease agreement
  • Last month’s rent – may be requested upon signing of the lease agreement

Some utilities are included in the price of rent, so be sure to ask your landlord. When viewing apartments, most landlords or current tenants will gladly tell you the average price of utilities, so don’t be afraid to ask. It is also helpful to ask what utilities the house uses, such as gas or electric heat. Some units and buildings include laundry, for free or a cost, while others are located near laundromats.

Stipend & benefits

Learn more about your bi-weekly stipend and the various benefits – both during and after service.

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Whether you’re new to our city or have lived in Chicago for several years, there are always new and exciting things to experience here.

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