Chicago and Illinois Action Alerts: Support Affordable, Accessible, Integrated Housing!

 

March 23, 2021 | by Jerome Palliser

Access Living friends and allies:

Big things are happing at the local and state level concerning affordable accessible integrated housing and we need your help to win!

Take Action in Chicago: Since September 2020, several Aldermen, along with Access Living and other advocates, have been working to advance the recommendations of Mayor Lightfoot’s Affordable Rental Ordinance (ARO) Task Force forward. In November 2020 this coalition, introduced the Chicago Inclusive Housing Ordinance (CIHO) into City Council. Based on the Task Force recommendations, this ordinance will achieve the ARO’s purpose of desegregation and combat the looming eviction crisis. Since the New Year, we’ve held discussions with the Mayor’s Housing Department on this proposal.

Despite these discussions, we are concerned that the ARO Reform ordinance, introduced for tomorrow’s City Council meeting, will not reflect the following report recommendations:

  • Provide enough affordable units to meet current need
  • Establish new funding sources for affordable housing
  • Set realistic rents and bedroom sizes for marginalized communities

We must change the ARO from a “market” policy into a true public policy. Mayor Lightfoot convened this Task Force because she recognized that, and at this point, all Aldermen recognize it as well. As CIHO Co-sponsor Alderman Matt Martin says “‚Ķevery one of the ARO-triggering developments I have approved included at least twice as many affordable units as current city law requires. Through these efforts, I am confident that the city government can do more to ensure that large new developments bring the housing opportunities that our middle and working class neighbors need.”

What to do: Send Housing Committee Chair Alderman Osterman an email at harry@48thward.org with your name, address, and asking him to co-sponsor the Chicago Inclusive Housing Ordinance and call it for a hearing & vote!

Take Action in Illinois on TWO Bills!: First, we need your support today to ensure that HB2775 passes out of the Housing Committee on Wednesday, March 24. HB2775 amends the Illinois Human Rights Act to create new housing protections against source of income discrimination and amends the Eviction Act to allow a legal defense against an eviction if the owner refuses to accept emergency rental assistance programs, like those offered by COVID relief programs. Many disabled people use housing subsidies because it is the only way they can afford accessible apartments. It is imperative that legislators hear from those who support this bill.

What to do: We need your help to show support for HB 2775 by filing digital witness slip. A digital witness slip helps show that you support or oppose a bill. If you support ending source of income discrimination statewide, please fill out a witness slip at this link.

How To File A Witness Slip:

  • Fill out your name and other contact information
  • Under the Representation section, if you are not submitting on behalf of an organization simply type “self”
  • Select “Proponent” (this means you support HB 2775!)
  • Check “Record of Appearance Only” and
  • Click “Submit.”

And then, again!: We are also supporting HB 116, a bill to end the statewide ban on rent control. Rent control and rent stabilization policies benefit people with disabilities who often pay disproportionately high rent because of accessible apartments only existing in newer, more expensive developments. Keeping rents low also supports people who may never identify as disabled but still experience discrimination in employment. Why do we have a ban on rent control? In the 1990s, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) passed rent control ban laws in 37 states, including Illinois. HB 116 would lift the current ban and allow municipalities to enact laws that keep rents affordable to Illinoisans with disabilities.

What to do: We need your help to show support for HB 116 by filing digital witness slip. A digital witness slip helps show that you support or oppose a bill. If you support ending source of income discrimination statewide, please fill out a witness slip at this link.

Both of these Important bills will be heard on Wednesday 3/24 at 10:00 in the House Housing Committee.

Thank you for taking action to house people with disabilities!