Fair Housing

Access Living is one of the few Centers for Independent Living in the country with a Legal Department. Among other areas, attorneys who are part of the department work on fair housing cases. Access Living serves as a resource and a legal tool for individuals who may have faced housing discrimination based upon disability.

To do so, the Project employs three interrelated components: investigation and enforcement; public policy partnerships and advocacy; and education and pro se assistance.

Investigation and Enforcement

The Project provides legal advice, counseling, and representation to people with disabilities who have meritorious discrimination complaints. This work combats illegal discrimination, expands fair housing opportunities and choice, improves rental housing, promotes accessible housing, and fosters compliance with fair housing laws. To request legal assistance, call 312.640.2106 (voice) or 312.640.2102 (tty).

Public Policy Partnerships and Advocacy

The Project collaborates with partners to affirmatively further fair housing on the local, state, and national level. We recommend policy changes to expand housing opportunities and advance fair housing protections for people with disabilities; ensure interagency coordination to further fair housing (e.g., when deinstitutionalizing residents of nursing homes and related facilities); and educate and work with public and private partners on developing affordable, accessible, and integrated housing.

Education and Pro Se Assistance

The Project empowers consumers to solve fair housing disputes on their own, instructs housing providers on how to comply with fair housing laws, and teaches architects and developers about new construction requirements. The Project distributes materials, such as its Fair Housing Handbook (for consumers), Reasonable Accommodation Request Forms (for consumers), Fair Housing Outline (for attorneys and advocates), and Handbook on the New Construction Provisions of the Fair Housing Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (for developers, builders, and architects). All these documents are available in alternative formats for individuals who are blind or vision-impaired, and some are available in Spanish, Polish and Chinese.