City of Chicago Launches Reporting and Enforcement Program for the Senior Safety Ordinance

March 15, 2021

The pilot program will allow seniors to report non-compliance of the safety ordinance in their building to 311 and their Alderman.

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334 / press@cityofchicago.org

CHICAGO – Chicago Department of Buildings and Chicago Department of Public Health today announced the launch of the 311/Online reporting and enforcement program for seniors to report non-compliance of the Senior Safety Ordinance, sponsored by Alderwoman Maria Hadden.  

The Senior Safety Ordinance was approved by the Chicago City Council in July 2020 and creates additional requirements for owners of senior buildings to protect the health, safety, and wellbeing of their residents during a declared disaster related to public health.  Under the 30-day pilot, senior residents that believe their building owner is not in compliance with the ordinance will be able to phone 311 to file a report with 311, submit request online at 311.chicago.gov or free CHI311 mobile app, or contact their alderman to file a complaint.  At the end of the pilot the City will review the program for staffing levels and enforcement effectiveness.  

"We've seen firsthand over the past year how Chicago's seniors are among our must vulnerable communities and we have a responsibility to do everything we can to protect them," said Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. "We all stand on the shoulders of our seniors, and the new reporting and enforcement measures around the Senior Safety Ordinance represents an important step in ensuring Chicago's elderly residents enjoy their golden years with the protection they need and the dignity and respect they deserve."  

“The way a community cares for and protects our most vulnerable residents speaks to the character of our leaders and our city,” said 48th Ward Alderwoman Maria Hadden. “I’m proud to have worked alongside leaders from JASC to make sure that Chicago provides stronger protections for our most vulnerable during this pandemic.”  

Under the ordinance, senior buildings must put in place the following measures if the City is subject to a local, state, or federally declared public health disaster:   

  • Building owners and managers must conduct well-being checks on their residents at least twice weekly (tenants have the ability to opt out if they wish). 
  • Building staff is required to screen all non-residents for any symptoms related to the public health crisis. If a person exhibits any symptoms, they will be denied access. 
  • Building staff is required to limit access to the building to staff members, caregivers, personal aides, home makers, family members, and friends.  
  • Building staff will help residents access food and medication delivery when needed. 
  • Building owners and managers will make available and distribute to all staff proper protective equipment (PE) and hand washing facilities with soap or hand sanitizer. Building management is also required to train staff on proper use of PE.  
  • Building staff will implement an updated cleaning regimen that ensures high-contact surfaces are being disinfected at least three times daily with approved cleaning products.  
  • Building owners and managers cannot reduce staffing levels to lower than needed to keep the building in compliance with the law. 
“Jane Addams Senior Caucus is so proud to see the city take these powerful steps to see the senior safety ordinance move forward in enforcement,” said JASC Board Member Carmen Betances. “Seniors will now have protection during this pandemic and any future pandemics. Thank you to Alderwoman Hadden who worked tirelessly alongside JASC members and other Chicago seniors to see this ordinance get passed and put into action.”  
The 311 program, run by Emergency Management & Communications, offers another method for seniors to report to their Aldermen. Over the next 30 days, the City will measure the need for a phone program based on the number of calls received. Building owners that are subject to a daily fine of $100 - $500 and potential injunction or other equitable relief if they fail to comply it provisions of the ordinance.

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