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Cook County passes bill to stop discrimination against tenant applicants

New law prohibits landlords from discriminating based on past arrest records

Brandon Johnson 01 028 Web
Brandon Johnson

Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson (D-1st) applauded the passing of the Just Housing Amendment which protects renters from discrimination based on past arrest records. The amendment to the Human Relations Ordinance will go into effect in six months.

Co-sponsor Commissioner Kevin Morrison (D-15th) said, “Safe and affordable housing is a human right. This passage of the Just Housing Amendment is a clear signal that Cook County believes in fair housing for all and will support those with past convictions who are seeking rehabilitation.”

“I am proud to be the chief sponsor of an ordinance with the sole purpose of ending discrimination against families and returning citizens who have been plagued and haunted by the vestiges of Jim Crow.” Johnson said. “In the 1st District alone, nearly 80 percent of the women who return from the penal system are mothers. And, one of the greatest challenges that our families have to securing the type of dignity that they deserve is an opportunity to secure housing.”

Commissioner Johnson added, “I want to thank the leadership of Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle who has made justice and equity a part of her mission. Additionally, I want to thank my colleagues on the County Board for their leadership and support for this common-sense legislation that will go a long way in reducing homelessness and recidivism in Cook County.”

The new language, which passed recently by a vote of 15-to-2, drew praise from fellow commissioners.

“Housing is a human right. We know that when residents have access to stable housing they are more likely to be successful in life—even more so for vulnerable populations,” said Commissioner Scott Britton (D-14th). “Each year, more than 115 residents return to the 14th District after serving their sentences. We must eliminate discriminatory barriers to housing in order to reduce adverse impacts on individual residents, their families, and our economy as a community.”

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