Heartland Alliance Led “Housing as a Human Right Bill” To Potentially Impact Millions of Illinoisans

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Governor J. B. Pritzker recently signed the Housing as a Human Right Bill (SB1780), which makes it a civil rights violation to use arrest, juvenile, sealed or expunged records when considering someone for tenancy. Before this bill, landlords in Illinois were able to refuse to rent to prospective tenants solely based on a record of arrest – even if the tenant had never even been convicted of a crime. As a result, thousands of individuals and families were denied the ability to find safe, stable, and affordable housing in their community. In Illinois, nearly five million adults, or about half of the state’s population, are estimated to have an arrest or conviction record, which act as substantial barriers to work, housing, and well-being.

“This bill is a step in the right direction in ensuring that people with records can obtain housing, which is so critical when re-entering society. Heartland and our partners will continue to push for change that brings Illinois closer to becoming a more equitable state." Quintin, Heartland Alliance

The new law, sponsored by Representative Curtis Tarver (D-25th) and Senator Omar Aquino (D-2nd) and led by the Restoring Rights and Opportunities Coalition of Illinois (RROCI), will help thousands of Illinois residents find safer and more stable housing across the state. This is turn will help individuals and families protect their rights, while decreasing recidivism and strengthening communities

“Stable housing is a basic human need that is far too challenging for many people in our state,” said Representative Tarver. “I am proud that this new law helps to reduce the barriers for individuals with records, so that they may find the housing they need to succeed.”

The Housing as a Human Right Bill will go into effect in January 2020 and if individuals believe that they have been denied housing due to their record, they can file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights.
Heartland Alliance, as a member of RROCI, worked alongside coalition members Cabrini Green Legal Aid, the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, and Community Renewal Society to advocate for this bill during the 2019 Illinois Legislative Session.

See attached press release for more details.

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Amber (Cason) Crossen
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