According to the Huffington Post, Chicago was named “the most segregated city in America” back in 2012, which was not too long ago. The windy city is no longer the most segregated city today. The Chicago Tribune stated in an article from January of 2016 that the reason for this decline is due to “a new census data showing that more African-Americans move to the suburbs…while more whites and Latinos move into historically black communities.” The New York Times also agrees that “many discriminatory practices were formally ended with the civil rights and fair lending laws of the 1960s and 70s.”
Chicago is definitely home to many of us, so it is nice to know that we can at least expect fair housing. When we are seeking an apartment, we all expect a good experience and equal treatment as well. However, if this isn’t the case, then here are a couple of resources that are important to know while seeking an apartment in Chicago.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
HUD is a very helpful federal agency that makes sure all prospects receive adequate housing. Pretty much the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development holds all agencies accountable and reassures that these same agencies do no practice discriminatory acts among prospects. If you feel you have been discriminated against, you can visit their website and find multiple ways to file a complaint against the agency. Companies and homeowners can find themselves in trouble for malpractices if not willing to comply with non-discrimination federal and state laws, including section 8 voucher rights. Most tenants are unaware that you are able to file a complaint but no later than a year of the incident.
Illinois Department of Human Rights
IDHR is also a very helpful federal agency that assists communities in receiving equal services and treatment in all areas. When it comes to fair housing, the Illinois Department of Human Rights makes sure that all agencies and house owners comply with laws that restrict them from discriminating against someone for their race, gender, religious belief, legal status, and even income! The federal agency will investigate all charges after a complaint has been filed. Just like HUD, IDHR works in partnership with other governmental and private organizations to make sure all parties comply with non-discriminatory laws.
Better Business Bureau
BBB is pretty much the parent of all accreditation. The Better Business Bureau gives businesses the full recognition that most businesses want in order to receive the right accreditation. When dealing with any apartment or housing agency, it’s important to do a little more research on the company. If you don’t find the agency on BBB then you will most likely not be guaranteed the adequate services. If the agency is found under the BBB accreditation, then it is very important for that agency to maintain the accreditation for the sake of their professional reputation. BBB is also a wonderful agency that can detect the scammers from the real agencies or homeowners. Therefore, filing a complaint with BBB will more likely force the agency to provide equal treatment to all of their prospects or else receive a penalty.
Chicago Housing Authority
This Non-Profit Organization helps neighborhoods provide safe and affordable housing to those under served families. Chicago Housing Authority provides numerous programs such as public housing and services such as Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCV) that help underprivileged families find the right home at a variety communities without the fear of being discriminated against for their financial status. When in need of the right services as a member of the community, CHA can definitely assist many Chicago residents to find fair housing opportunities especially to those most in need within developing urban areas. Contact them if you or someone you know is in need of housing services. They also assist youth in a variety of ways such as through Summer Youth and Internship programs in order to enhance their educational opportunities.
The next time you are seeking an apartment make sure to be informed of your rights. That’s why it’s important to be aware of our social structure and how it is impacting us as a society. Since our home is where the heart is, then finding a home shouldn’t have to be scary and complicated. Learn more about these important fair housing resources by visiting their sites! Everyone deserves a Home Sweet Home!
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