Director of Communications
CHICAGO – Candidates for Mayor of Chicago today committed to spending whatever is required to correct decades of discrimination against people with disabilities in the City’s Affordable Housing Program. Ten candidates addressed questions about housing, transit, health care, criminal justice, employment, education and immigrant services in a forum today hosted by Access Living and ten community partners.
Candidate Bill Daley declined to attend and ignored written questions sent to him by the disability community.
Candidates Jerry Joyce committed to attending and completed the written questionnaire but did not show up Thursday evening. Ja’Mal Green couldn’t attend at the last minute due to a Board of Elections hearing.
Attending the forum were Hon. Toni Preckwinkle, Gery Chico, Lori Lighfoot, Paul Vallas, Hon. Susana Mendoza, Garry McCarthy, Hon. Dorothy Brown, Amara Enyia, Hon. LaShawn Ford, and John Kozlar.
People with disabilities have suffered decades of discrimination under the City’s federally funded Affordable Housing Program. Similar complaints in Los Angeles recently resulted in a settlement calling for municipal spending of $200 million over 10 years to correct systemic violations of civil rights in housing. In asking for a show of hands for a commitment of support by moderator Andres Gallegos, board chair of Access Living, all candidates agreed the city should “spend what is required” to rectify the lack of affordable, accessible housing.
On other issues, candidates generally supported increased access and enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act, reforms within Chicago Public Schools to improve special education services and increase transparency, expediting the Chicago Transit Authority’s accessibility plan, holding ride share companies to accessibility standards, and improving the city’s influence on private sector employment of people with disabilities.
• Arc of Illinois
• Chicago ADAPT
• Equip for Equality
• Health and Medicine Policy Research Group
• Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities
• Illinois Network of Centers for Independent Living
• Institute on Disability and Human Development, University of Illinois at Chicago
• The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Greater Illinois Chapter (GIC)
• The (Illinois) Self Advocacy Alliance
• Statewide Independent Living Council of Illinois