The Cook County Human Rights Ordinance protects individuals from discrimination based on their income (such as child support, social security) however, it specifically does not include protections for people with Section 8 housing vouchers.
With the ordinance as it stands, housing providers can and do deny qualified households solely because they have a Section 8 voucher. Studies have proven that housing providers refuse to rent to voucher holders as a pretext for other types of illegal discrimination based on race, familial status, and disability.
MTO supports the proposed ordinance amendment that would include protection for individuals with Section 8 vouchers. Property owners would still have the right to screen applicants.
The city of Chicago and six other municipalities in Illinois, ten states, the District of Columbia, and ten counties across the country have laws in place that protect individuals from discrimination based on using Housing Choice vouchers.
Voucher holders are some of the most scrutinized tenants and have to meet the rigorous criteria of the voucher administrator as well as comply with lease provisions. Nearly 40% of voucher recipients are employed and more than 30% are seniors or persons with disabilities. There is absolutely no evidence that persons who use Housing Choice Vouchers to make their housing affordable perpetuate or increase crime in communities.
Landlord participation in the voucher program is not unduly burdensome. Landlords only have to complete three simple forms. Payments made by the housing authority are made electronically. Units must pass a Housing Quality Standards inspection. Voucher recipients have to complete most of the paperwork.
By supporting this amendment to the CCHRO, the last remaining type of source of income discrimination in Cook County can finally end.
For more reading, check out this research article which found no evidence that voucher holder households increase crime in neighborhoods.