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Housing Collaborative hosts Fair Housing Training Workshop on impact of new laws

At the Sept. 12 Fair Housing Training Workshop were (from left): Patricia Fron, Executive Director, Chicago Area Fair Housing Alliance; James Ford, Housing Collaborative Chairman and Country Club Hills Mayor; Kate Walz,Vice President of Advocacy, Senior Director of Litigation, & Director of Housing Justice, Shriver Center on Poverty Law; John Petruszak, Executive Director, South Suburban Housing Center; Gianna Baker, Outreach Manager, Housing Action Illinois; Kristi DeLaurentiis, Executive Director, South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association

New Laws: Housing Access and Arrest/Conviction Records & Municipal Fair Housing Compliance Workshop

At the Sept. 12 Housing Collaborative meeting, SSMMA hosted more than 50 participants for an in-depth fair housing training workshop led by the Chicago Area Fair Housing Alliance, Shriver Center on Poverty Law, Housing Action Illinois and the South Suburban Housing Center. The following topics were covered (see also the presentation slides):

  1. New Illinois State Law and the Cook County Just Housing Amendment providing housing protections for individuals with arrest and certain conviction records – New rights state that: Landlords cannot ask about arrest or conviction records on a housing application; Landlords can consider conviction records only AFTER conducting an “individualized assessment,” Landlords can deny your application only if: the applicant falls under current sex offender registration requirements or child sex offender residency restrictions, or if the landlord determines the applicant poses a risk to people and/or property. Read more about the Just Housing Initiative. Similarly, SB 1780 (HFA 3) creates a civil rights violation under the Illinois Human Rights Act to refuse to engage in real estate transactions, or otherwise make housing unavailable to any buyer or renter based on: an arrest not leading to a finding of guilt; a juvenile record; or a criminal history record ordered expunged, sealed, or impounded. See the slides for more.

  2. How these new protections intersect with municipal policies and practices included in Crime Free and Nuisance Free Ordinances –  Their enforcement may be well-intended, but they can reduce the supply of rental housing, displace crime victims and others who need to reach out to the police for help, chill reporting of crime to the police in the first place, increase the number of vacant properties and the rate of family homelessness, deny persons with disabilities the opportunity to access housing that is integrated into the community, and prevent persons with criminal records from finding stable housing, among other concerns. Read more.

  3. Proposed rule changes by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that would undermine discrimination protections through the Fair Housing Act – These changes will effectively cripple a critical protection provided by what is commonly known as the disparate impact rule. Proposed rule changes would make it more difficult to bring discrimination claims under the Fair Housing Act. Learn what you can do to help fight against this rule here. Comments are due by October 18, 2019. Read more from a recent blog post.

  4. Fair Housing and Cook County funding compliance  – Cook County is obligated to: Assess and work to mitigate residential segregation; monitor patterns of segregation over time and adapt strategies to address it; and ensure subrecipients of County dollars adhere to Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH). However, local governments create barriers to fair housing through: Restrictive zoning and land-use decisions; lack of fair housing infrastructure; local ordinances that produce disparities in outcomes by race, national origin, disability, family status, etc. Cook County uses the Tiered Compliance Model that: assesses the fair housing landscape, identifying needs, trends, and a unified vision for fair housing; provides a framework to assist funding recipients comply with AFFH; is more effective and efficient of fair housing reviews for funding sub-recipients; is more equitable access to opportunity. Non-compliance municipalities may be ineligible to receive HUD funding via Cook County. See the slides for more.

For questions about the Fair Housing Training Workshop, please contact  South Suburban Housing Center Executive Director John Petruszak at 708-957-4674 or

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