Chicago City Council Budget Hearings, #PlowTheSidewalks, Fair Housing Testers Wanted


October 24, 2022 | by Amber Smock

Advocacy Updates: Monday, October 24, 2022

Access Living friends and allies,

We have three great disability action items for you today. This morning, Chicago City Council begins its last budget hearing, which will include the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT). We need your help contacting Chicago aldermen to support the Plow the Sidewalks campaign. And, if you have been following the migrant bus crisis, there’s a way for you to help. Plus, Access Living has paid opportunities for fair housing testers! Read on to find out what you can do.

Hey Chicago, it’s Time to Plow The Sidewalks! 

Right now, the last Chicago City Council budget hearing for 2023 is happening. Watch live via video stream (with captioning option). CDOT will be the third and last city agency up to discuss their proposed budget today.

Access Living and our friends at Better Streets Chicago have been asking that CDOT budget $750,000 for a pilot program to clear snow on Chicago sidewalks. Can’t be done, you say? Actually, there are cities that already remove snow from sidewalks as a city service. Read the Plow the Sidewalks campaign page for more info. 

Our ask to you TODAY is for those who live in Chicago to send an email to your alderman supporting Plow The Sidewalks. Here is the Plow The Sidewalks action link. Also, anyone can amplify the campaign on social media with the hashtag #PlowTheSidewalks. Let’s get started on making winter accessible for all!

Help Welcome New Arrivals in Chicago: 

The City of Chicago, as well as federal, state, local and community partners, are continuing to welcome migrants bused from Texas.  Folks are focused on getting immediate needs met. Our colleagues at Instituto del Progreso Latino have set up this Amazon wish list for those who would like to help pay for needed items. You can also visit the City’s webpage to welcome new arrivals from Texas to see what else is needed. Welcome to our new neighbors!

Fair Housing Testers Wanted 

Want to get involved with Access Living’s social justice work…and be paid for it? Our Civil Rights team has a testing program where testers contact housing providers about apartments for rent. We have a tester with a disability and one without a disability contact the same housing provider at different times (either in-person or over the phone). They act like secret shoppers, asking questions and gathering information. Then they write reports for us. We analyze the reports, looking to see if there’s any evidence of discrimination against the tester with a disability.   

We’re now recruiting new testers, both with and without disabilities. You must be detail-oriented and write well (accommodations available). Also, you must be able to conduct tests during the day. Testers are paid a stipend for each test. It’s not a steady job but is on an as-needed basis. You don’t have to live in Chicago to be a tester. If you’re interested, please reach out to our Fair Housing Testing Coordinator at with your phone number or other contact method and a good time to reach you. 

Please share this action alert with fellow disability advocates. Thank you for your advocacy!