Nonprofit Challenges New Ordinance Excluding Voucher Holders From Protection Against Discrimination

Last updated: August 29, 2013 – 12:00 PM

The following open letter to Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle was submitted by Open Communities, regarding Glenview’s recent landlord ordinance allowing landlords to deny rent to Section 8 applicants.

Dear President Preckwinkle,

On behalf of Open Communities and eleven other fair housing advocacy agencies throughout Cook County, I attach a formal letter to the County alerting you to a recent action taken by the Village of Glenview that directly contradicts the County’s strong commitment to affirmatively furthering fair housing.  We are requesting prompt and firm reaction from the County.

Glenview amended its Municipal Code to exclude Housing Choice Voucher holders from protection against discrimination based on their source of income to pay their rent.  Glenview took this action to prevent the implementation of the County’s new and praiseworthy addition of voucher status as a protected class under the County’s human rights ordinance.  Given that voucher holder discrimination is often used as a cover for discrimination against race (primarily Black), disability, and familial status, and Glenview is only one percent Black, Glenview’s new ordinance is a barrier to open, integrated housing in the Village.  The details of Glenview’s actions are attached in our letter as well as their own ordinance and accompanying statements to the press.

We are asking the County, as a recipient of HUD funding that must hold its jurisdictions accountable for affirmatively furthering fair housing, to inform the Village of Glenview and the Northwest Housing Partnership of its intention to withhold federal housing and community development funds unless Glenview amends its ordinance to end discrimination against persons utilizing Housing Choice Vouchers or rescinds it altogether.  The County’s actions will send a strong message to other local Home Rule subrecipient governments within Cook County intent on following Glenview’s actions.

Please feel free to contact us, the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, or the Sargent Shriver Center on Poverty Law for more information.  We look forward to hearing from you.  Thank you in advance for your serious attention.

Gail Schechter

Executive Director
Open Communities