Bringing Equity to Housing Choice in Chicago
Chicago’s residential segregation and fair housing challenges are driven by the root causes of systemic racism and poverty. Community conversations and extensive data analysis confirm that barriers to housing today perpetuate Chicago’s residential segregation, creating a cycle of instability with longlasting consequences that not only impact individuals, but the entire city.
For more information, please visit the Chicago Blueprint for Fair Housing
What is Fair Housing?
Fair Housing means the right for a person to live where they choose to, free from discrimination. In the City of Chicago, the law that governs fair housing is the Chicago Fair Housing Ordinance (CFHO) enforced by the Chicago Commission on Human Relations (CCHR). The CFHO prohibits discrimination based on race, sex, color, age, religion, disability, national origin, ancestry, parental status, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, military status, and source of income.
Even with one of the strongest fair housing ordinances in the country, discrimination and segregation continue to limit housing opportunities for many Chicago residents. Far too many real estate agents, landlords, and property managers lack an understanding of the CFHO, or hazard to ignore the law to the detriment of many individuals and families.
Chicago Commission on Human Relations
The Chicago Commission on Human Relations (CCHR) is charged with enforcing the CFHO and the Chicago Human Rights Ordinance (CHRO) which covers employment, public accommodations, credit, and bonding discrimination. Since the 1990 amendments to the CFHO and the CHRO, the CCHR has enforced these laws by providing a neutral forum for the investigation and adjudication of discrimination complaints filed under these ordinances. The CCHR investigates complaints to determine whether discrimination may have occurred and uses its enforcement powers to punish acts of discrimination. The strength of the CFHO itself, along with the high quality of investigation and adjudication which is conducted through the CCHR, has been an important resource for fair housing enforcement in the city.
The CFHO gives the CCHR a broad mandate to investigate, mediate, and adjudicate complaints of housing discrimination in Chicago based on at least one of the 14 "protected classes": race, sex, color, age, religion, disability, national origin, ancestry, parental status, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, military status, and source of income. The alleged discrimination must have occurred in Chicago and a complaint must be filed within 300 days of the incident, for incidents of discrimination occurring on or after January 23, 2019.
What is Affordable Housing?
In the United States, affordable housing is defined as housing that costs 30 percent or less of a family’s income. Families who pay more than 30 percent of their income for housing are considered cost burdened and may have difficulty affording necessities such as food, clothing, transportation and medical care. An estimated 12 million renter and homeowner households now pay more than 50 percent of their annual incomes for housing. A family with one full-time worker earning the minimum wage cannot afford the local fair-market rent for a two-bedroom apartment anywhere in the United States.
Chicago Department of Housing
The Department of Housing (DOH) works to develop and support affordable housing initiatives citywide. Affordable rental housing plays an important role in meeting the housing needs of low-income Chicagoans. From individuals and families to seniors and the homeless, the City helps to build, rehabilitate and preserve rental housing to ensure that it is available to residents throughout Chicago.
The Department of Housing operates housing programs throughout the City of Chicago. If you are looking for an affordable rental unit to call home, see a list of affordable rental housing opportunities that have been supported and developed through the City of Chicago at: https://www.chicago.gov/city/en/depts/doh/provdrs/renters/svcs/affordable-rental-housing-resource-list.html
The list is intended to assist individuals looking for affordable rental housing throughout Chicago and will guide you in your search. The DOH remains committed to making our neighborhoods strong, safe and affordable for all Chicagoans.
If you are looking to purchase a home, DOH has various programs to promote and support homeownership. A list of the different programs available for homebuyers can be found at: https://www.chicago.gov/city/en/depts/doh/provdrs/homebuyers.html