Study Examines Housing Discrimination in Chicago Metro Area

Housing discrimination still plagues certain populations pushed into limited housing stock, according to a new study on segregation in the Chicago area. The Illinois Department of Human Rights commissioned the John Marshall Law School Fair Housing Legal Support Center to examine the housing landscape in the Chicago region in light of the foreclosure crisis and to identify concrete measures to affirmatively further fair housing in the Chicago metropolitan region.

After reviewing the history of housing segregation in Chicago, the report assesses the impact of the 2008 mortgage foreclosure crisis and housing rules in place in Chicago, Cook County, and its surrounding suburbs. In particular, the study examines how discrimination directly affects those with Housing Choice Vouchers (formerly Section 8); criminal records; marital status; the immigrant population and those with limited English proficiency; the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) populations, especially youth of color; and senior citizens. The report also presents procedural and administrative changes that could improve the enforcement of fair housing laws and encourage those being discriminated against to file complaints.

“What we found is that specific groups face greater hurdles at finding decent housing, and part of the reason is that major impediments exist,” Michael P. Seng, director of the Fair Housing Legal Support Center, said in a statement. “We hope that through these findings we can encourage government leaders to strengthen laws that are either not explicit or are passive in their approach. Without coordination between government agencies or without specific guidelines, these patterns of discrimination will continue.”

The full report, “Segregation in the Chicago Metropolitan Area—Some Immediate Measures to Reverse This Impediment to Fair Housing,” is here.

Sources:; John Marshall Law School


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