Opening doors to opportunity, Alleviating poverty, Building equitable communities
Fair Housing Advocacy & Research
We work with other organizations to improve affordable housing programs and their availability throughout the Chicago metropolitan region.
Housing Choice Partners is a member of the Chicago Area Fair Housing Alliance, the National Low-Income Housing Coalition, and Housing Action Illinois. We are experienced in housing policy action on a state and federal level.
HB 2775: Source of Income Protections for All Illinoisans
Housing Choice Partners, along with many other organizations, played a significant role in
On May 23, 2022, Governor JB Pritzker signed HB 2775 into law. Effective January 1, 2023, housing providers may continue to use business criteria to screen tenants, but will no longer be able to turn renters away from available housing simply because of their source of income.
This is a huge win for the Illinois Coalition for Fair Housing and for persons who have experienced hardship and discrimination based on the legal way they pay for their housing.
During the COVID pandemic, advocates, social service providers, and other professionals witnessed the housing crisis worsen. Mothers, persons with disabilities, veterans, and other people faced housing instability simply because their landlords did not want to accept their legal form of rent payment.
These advocates formed the Illinois Coalition for Fair Housing. Together, with persons directly impacted by source of income discrimination, they began working to re-energize a decades-old campaign to pass a bill to include source of income as a protected class under the Illinois Human Rights Act.
The passage of HB 2775 is historical and significant. Illinois is now the 20th state to offer source of income protections and this law is in alignment with existing source of income protections in Cook County and the City of Chicago. Under the Act, "source of income" is defined as the lawful manner by which an individual supports himself or herself and his or her dependents and provides that it is a civil rights violation to engage in discriminatory actions in real estate transactions because of an individual's source of income.
The Illinois Coalition for Fair Housing is a growing group of impacted community members and advocates committed to making housing access in Illinois equitable and just.
Housing Choice Partners was one of many organizations that made a key difference for low-income renters who already face far too many challenges to their housing stability. The majority of renter households in Cook County—64 percent—are low-income. The economic distress of the pandemic has only made their situations more precarious. These renters are most likely to encounter predatory landlords, and they are the ones for whom exorbitant late fees, the refusal to return a security deposit, disguising a security deposit as a “move-in fee,” or the cost of taking a landlord to court can set off or deepen a spiral of financial insecurity.
Cook County Commissioners voted unanimously to pass the Residential Tenant Landlord Ordinance (RTLO) in January 2021.
All provisions take effect on June 1, 2021.
The RTLO creates the kind of basic floors for landlord conduct that has existed for more than 30 years in Chicago, Evanston, and Mount Prospect. Landlords who foster good working relationships with their tenants are already doing what it requires, such as offering fair lease terms, ensuring safe living conditions, and respecting tenants’ dignity and privacy.
The ordinance passed with a series of amendments and revisions. See the history of the legislation and proposed changes here and view the final ordinance here.