Support is needed to pass an amendment to the Cook Country Human Rights Ordinance

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Your support is needed to pass an amendment to the Cook Country Human Rights Ordinance

The Cook County Human Rights Ordinance protects all people who live and work in the County from discrimination and sexual harassment in employment, public accommodations, housing, credit transactions, County services and County contracting. Tomorrow, the Cook County Board will vote on an amendment to the Cook County Human Rights Ordinance. This amendment will extend protections to people who hold housing vouchers. Your support is needed to ensure the amendment passes.

At this point, protections under the Cook County Human Rights Ordinance do not extend to people who hold Housing Choice Vouchers, formerly known as Section 8. In fact, though the ordinance includes source of income protections, Cook County specifically identifies voucher holders as a group that can be excluded from the ordinance. As a result, housing providers can legally refuse housing to individuals and families simply because they hold a housing voucher.

The Disability Rights Action Coalition for Housing (DRACH)–a community organizing group within Access Living –, the Metropolitan Tenants Organization, and Progress Center for Independent Living have organized the Source of Income Coalition. The goal of the coalition is to build support for the amendment to the Cook County Human rights Ordinance. This amendment will add Housing Choice Vouchers as a protected source of income. If passed, thousands of low income people with disabilities, people of color, veterans and families will be able to pursue housing opportunities without fear of discrimination.

The amendment passed in committee and will be brought to the full Cook County Board on Wednesday, May 8, (11 a.m., Cook County Building, 118 North Clark, 5th Floor, Chicago). Your attendance at the meeting and your phone calls are needed to ensure the amendment passes. Access Living urges advocates, allies, and to contact Cook County Commissioners to build support for the amendment. Opposition to the amendment is strong but we need to show the board the support from the community is stronger.

Take Action Now

Please make calls today.

Here are a few talking points to communicate when you call:

* Please vote yes in support of the Human Relations Committee Report from July 24, 2012. This report includes the Source of Income protection amendment to include Housing Choice

* Vouchers as a protected class under the county's fair housing ordinance. Do not place any exemptions in the ordinance

* Source of income protection for voucher holders already exists in Chicago. Now it's time to extend protections to the suburbs.

* This amendment does not force landlords to accept all housing vouchers, rather it requires that all tenants be given a chance to be screened for a prospective unit equally. It would outlaw outright denial of access to a rental unit because a person has a voucher, it would outlaw charging larger security deposit just because the tenant has a voucher, and it encourages landlords to screen all of their tenants.

Here is the list of Commissioners to call. The asterisk indicates they have shown support for the amendment. If you are able to make just one call, a call to Commissioner Sims should be give priority. Thanks for your support.

1st Earlean Collins*

2nd Robert Steele*

3rd Jerry Butler *

4TH Stanley Moore* (Formerly Williams Beavers district)

5th Deborah Sims*
312–603–6381 (if you can make only one call please call Commissioner Sims Office)

6th Joan Murphy

7th Jesus Garcia*

8th Edwin Reyes*

9th Peter Silvestri

10th Bridget Gainer*

11th John Daley

12th John Fritchey

13th Larry Suffredin*

14th Gregg Goslin

15th Tim Schneider

16th Jeff Tobolski

17th Elizabeth Gorman

Cook County Board Meeting
Wednesday, May 8 at 11 a.m.
Cook County Building
118 North Clark, 5th Floor


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    Shafiqul Hoque
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