A historic moment in county history and a victory for tenants and housing advocates! Last Wednesday, May 8, 2013, the Cook County Board voted to end the exclusion of Housing Choice Voucher holders—Section 8— from source of income protections in Cook County’s Human Rights Ordinance. Housing advocates and a few progressive county commissioners have been fighting for this amendment for almost 10 years.
Back in December, LCBH’s own Kathy Clark discussed housing voucher discrimination at length and highlighted what has been a lengthy struggle to extend protections for voucher holders throughout Cook County.
The vote was truly a victory, and a collaborative effort by sponsors of the amendment: Commissioners Garcia, Suffredin, and Steele and the core advocate groups: Open Communities, Metropolitan Tenants Organization, Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, Access Living, Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing, and Chicago Area Fair Housing Alliance (CAFHA).
This amendment will have a resounding impact throughout Cook County—expanding housing opportunities for, and banning discrimination against, renters with vouchers. The change in the ordinance will allow many vulnerable residents, including those who are disabled, the opportunity to apply for housing in the neighborhood of their choice and have their application screened by the landlord in the same manner as other applicants. But the work for advocates is not over; now the campaign to educate renters, housing advocates, and housing providers begins!