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Action Alert: October 13, 2021

 

October 13, 2021 | by Amber Smock

Illinois Legislators Need to End Source of Income Housing Discrimination

Access Living friends and allies,

Next week, Illinois legislators will begin our veto session!

Veto session is a two week period each fall where our state legislators work on following up from bills earlier this year, as well as some other matters. For Illinois disability advocates, a top priority is House Bill 2775, also known as HB 2775. This bill would end Source of Income (SOI) discrimination in housing, statewide! Quick link to email your Illinois State Senator here.

In most of Illinois, property owners can turn down potential tenants because of the way they pay their rent–in other words, the source of their income. Landlords may not want to you let pay with cash, housing subsidies, Social Security or many other nontraditional sources of income. There is a nationwide eviction crisis looming, and more people than ever are having trouble getting and keeping a stable place to live. We have a unique opportunity to make a difference in Illinois this fall.

Illinois House Bill 2775 would protect veterans, mothers receiving child support, domestic abuse survivors, people with disabilities, and Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program participants from discrimination statewide.

It would also prohibit landlords from having blanket policies to not accept COVID-19 related emergency rental assistance. This important bill passed the Illinois House this past spring session and currently has 21 sponsors in the Senate. We need the support of your State Senators to move this bill and join 19 other states in outlawing source of SOI discrimination. Please send a letter to your Illinois State Senator to support HB 2775 at this link.

HB 2775 is especially urgent because many people in our state are newly housing insecure due to the pandemic. Illinois has made a lot of rental assistance available to its residents in these uncertain times, but there has been one big problem. The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) distributed Emergency Rental Assistance in 2020, but 39.9% of property owners did not complete their end of the application, effectively refusing the money to tenants who requested funds. Renters with nontraditional sources of income have always been unfairly locked out of communities because of SOI discrimination. This pandemic has made the issue worse to a point where it cannot be ignored any longer.

Please share this alert with friends and family in Illinois. Let’s get this bill passed to make sure everyone can get and keep stable housing!