Changes in Section 8 rental laws start next week

Housing voucher status cannot be basis for refusal to rent


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By Jean Lotus

Staff Reporter

Cook County residents who qualify for subsidized housing vouchers, also known as "Section 8" vouchers, will have more rights with landlords when applying for a rental unit starting Aug. 8.

The Cook County Board amended the county's human rights ordinance to protect housing choice voucher holders from discrimination. As of next week, landlords can no longer legally refuse to rent solely on the basis of housing voucher status.

"The first thing I want to say is, don't freak out," Oak Park Regional Housing Center Executive Director Rob Breymaier told a group of area Realtors and landlords at a meeting at the Oak Park Public Library on Aug. 1. "These rules are the same fair housing and non-discriminating things you already do as landlords, just extended to voucher holders."

Breymaier  told the group that the same rules had been in force in the city of Chicago for 20 years. The larger point of federal housing choice vouchers, he said, was to disperse concentrations of poverty and help with integration.

"The housing voucher program has been shown to break a trans-generational cycle of poverty. Children do better with access to better schools," he said.

In May, the Cook County Board passed an amendment to the Cook County Human Rights Ordinance to include voucher-holder status as a "protected class" from housing discrimination. The county already prohibits refusing to rent to a tenant based on ancestry, marital status, military discharge status, sexual orientation, age (over 40), parental status and gender identity.

As of the change, landlords may not refuse to rent because of a person's voucher-status. They may not impose different terms and conditions for Section 8 holders or make discriminatory statements verbally or in published form.

Landlords can be sued and fined for lying about availability of a property, blockbusting or steering, retaliating against or intimidating a person exercising fair housing rights or aiding and abetting someone else who is breaking the new rules.

Breymaier  said the county was streamlining the inspection process for Section 8 voucher housing so it had to be completed within three to five days. This would help landlords expedite the process so voucher tenants would not present a lag in time to get units rented.

He also warned that the county would have to work out how credit checks could be used to screen Section 8 tenants. The main thing for landlords to remember was consistency.

"Be consistent,"Breymaier said. "If you have credit checks for voucher holders, you must have credit checks for everyone."

He also recommended landlords "document everything. Keep track of how many members of protected classes come to you." When defending a discrimination complaint Breymaier said, "lack of documentation can hurt you."

Landlords can use all the same pre-selection criteria to screen voucher tenants, Breimayer said, including credit checks, background checks, security deposits and landlord references.

What are the circumstances under which a landlord could turn away a Section 8 voucher holder?

If a rental unit fails the Section 8 inspection and the landlord can prove the cost of repairs is too expensive, he may turn away a voucher applicant, Breimayer said.

He also said if the landlord has two applications, one with voucher and one without — and the non-voucher tenant can move in right away — the landlord is within rights to choose the non-voucher tenant.

But, Breymaier said, a pattern of choosing non-voucher tenants without a good reason could leave landlords open to a complaint and/or lawsuit.

According to the Chicago Area Fair Housing Alliance, 5 percent of Cook County residents have housing choice vouchers. The majority of voucher holders are families with children, followed by people with disabilities, the elderly and veterans.

Voucher holders must pay a portion of their rent themselves. Tenants must pass a housing authority screening and are responsible for finding and securing housing in the private market.

Once a landlord approves a tenant and fills out paperwork, a private inspection team will inspect the unit within three to five business days. The landlord receives the voucher payment through direct deposit, and the tenant pays the rest of it on an agreed schedule.

Just like any other tenant, voucher holders can be evicted for violation of lease terms.

If a landlord violates the ordinance, complaints can be filed with the Cook County Human Rights Commission. Landlords can be fined between $100 and 500 per violation. They can also be charged damages, pay all or part of a complainant's costs (including attorney's fees) and be mandated to lease the unit to the complainant.

This article has been updated to correct the spelling of Robert Breymaier's name.

Reader Comments

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Lala Levane from Chicago  

Posted: January 24th, 2017 7:34 PM

I know this is an old post, I found it looking for rentals in Oak Park. So since it's stil here I want to add my opinion. I'm not a landlord, I'm a renter. I have had the opportunity to have and use a sect 8 voucher before. One, not all voucher holders are the same because people aren't the same. Two, there is actually good renters with a voucher that love to live a peaceful and quiet life in a nice apt. And will keep up their home. I think it's just wrong to think just because a person or family that have a sect 8 voucher are disruptive or criminal. It have nothing to do with the voucher that those who got it destroyed properties or ingaged in criminal activites. They may have been that way before they got the voucher, and surely would be after. Landlords need to have more wisdom when speaking to a potiental renter. Hey if you gone rent to a family, why not meet that family ? Two, if you gone rent to a single person or a family get landlord refferences. Those will tell a lot about how they rent a place. Do criminal background checks although sect 8 do that already. But don't get caught discriminating because of bad experiences. You live you learn.

Williams Leiva from Los Angeles  

Posted: February 28th, 2016 3:10 AM

Useful article . Speaking of which , if someone is interested a a form , my assistant found a template version here

OP Transplant  

Posted: June 18th, 2014 10:43 AM

I once lived in a complex filled with low-income residents, most of whom were minorities. While I was there, it began taking Section 8 tenants. It was disastrous. Within a year, nearly all of the original residents had left. Building and facilities were trashed, cops were there every night, rampant theft...a nightmare. The difference between the Sec 8 tenants and the original tenants (also low income and minority) was night and day.


Posted: June 18th, 2014 5:05 AM

I am as progressive as they come and when I was young I believed that people had bad breaks - but my experience is people game the system. I am black - two side to family - one that stays on assistance and the other that invested in education. The education side has done very well and the assistance has done poorly - no work, poor housing etc. You cannot just give people money and expect their lives to improve - need a path out. Education etc...


Posted: June 18th, 2014 5:01 AM

Families with Section * should be offered classes and opportunities to improve/education - this will pay a better return for them than giving them money. No it is one data point, my mom lives in well kept Westchester - a section 8 family moved in 3 families into one house and trashed the house. The entire block is hurt (along with property) and families who spend time/money to upkeep are hurt. Give a man a fish - eat one, teach a man to fish, eat for lifetime.

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: June 18th, 2014 2:33 AM

Josh, I was certainly suprised to see your comment directed at me in response to several postings I submitted almost one year ago. Even The Wednesday Journal's reporting on this story was last updated on August 1, 2013. While no longer an active contributor to the discussions via this forum, I do regularly read the pages. and my interest continues to be focused on the reporting and the related views and opinions being expressed by residents snd interested parties. I'm sure there are "10 horror stories" you would like to relate and am especially interested in learning more about any statistical evidence you are able to cite which will bolster your position. The issues of poverty and crime have been the subject of many important studies. My comments were based upon my own personal and professional experiences as they relate to tenants and landlords. I shared a few that seemed relevant at the time to the ongoing discussion. Thank you.

Josh from Oak Park  

Posted: June 18th, 2014 1:47 AM

@ Coughlin: Of course you "think" it will go okay. Problem is, if you look around there are about 10 horror stories dealing with section 8 to every good one. This here is the law of probabilities. The more section 8 applicants come in, the higher chance crime rates will increase.

notaj from richton park  

Posted: June 17th, 2014 11:55 PM

I have just received my section 8 housing voucher, i have been renting full cash payment struggling for years single mother of three boys in the last 6 years ive moved twice in those years and both times i have been told by my landlords how nice i keep my home, exactly what ever i rent is my home and my children's home i want to always live nice, now i have section 8 i will continue keeping a nice home, don't judge people i wasn't born with section 8 just lucky to get the help.

Ricky Agnew from dallas  

Posted: May 27th, 2014 6:12 PM

these posts were date 2013..i'm wondering how it all turned out.i'm almost 60 years old and lived in both section 8 and middle class (mostlywhite apartment complexes since 1980..13 apartment complexes in total.I've viisted many more each time I experience show this..section 8 is looking trashed..pot holes in the parking lots,people (generally minorities)hanging on the property all hours of the night,drugs,foot and car traffic at all hours,loud music and boomcars,etc


Posted: April 22nd, 2014 10:15 AM


T from Atlanta  

Posted: September 30th, 2013 9:55 AM

I was reading this to do research on the subject for my own case. I woman on section 8 rented a 3-bedroom townhome just a door down from mine. She has about 4 teenaged sons and 4 little sons. Her sons have been breaking into homes in our neighborhoods. . .there has been a rash of crime and many of my neighbors suspect the boys. There was an eyewitness to a door one of the guys kicked in. They are trying to piece together the facts.


Posted: September 27th, 2013 10:54 PM

My mom has section 8 and I'm on her voucher as well we both work at a university making a decent amount of money rent gets paid on time everyone that has section 8 is not a criminal or some poor person that doesn't want to work because we both work very hard everyday and we will not tear up an apartment

Done from Oak Park  

Posted: September 13th, 2013 8:32 AM

Christian - do you know how 2 spellz?

Christian Romano from Hamden  

Posted: September 13th, 2013 1:07 AM

Mr. Doug Burke you are a great example of a fair man. A true American. People such as yourself helped to break barriers that otherwise would not have allowed room for progress and equality. I for one understand the concern for property depreciation and crime. Neverthess we should not be premature in our negative assumptions. Why split hairs where there is no issue. If it becomed an issue than it can be adressed and dealt with accordingly as a whole involving the proper authorities. God bless.

Christian Romano from Hamden  

Posted: September 13th, 2013 12:38 AM

Small divide cousin to the 2 morons. I lived in an upper class community in Milford for 4 years and most of the people though wealthy had the proclivity to conduct themselves pugnaciously. A manner antithetical to ur simplistic dogma. And not at all conducive to ur presupposed way of thinking. I pray u 3 neanderthals r able 2 surmise that academic acheivement, social statis, or even money does not define much less validates a person. But his character, morals, conduct and integrity. Ur a joke..


Posted: September 12th, 2013 11:50 PM

To OP: It's not always true that if you don't own it, you don't value it. As a renter, I strongly disagree.

Christian Romano from Hamden  

Posted: September 12th, 2013 11:33 PM

Mr. Coughlin although what I expressed was to be directed to OP transplant it also applies 2u. U2 must be from the same mom. Poor woman. OP being financially secure does not imply u r better. No one should be deprived of good housing because of race. Though u2 morons were cautious to cloak ur implication some of us r wise enough 2 reveal ur true intentions. Do not knock something till u try it. If the tenant is good treat him fairly. Do not judge. God in heaven is the only one with thi s power.

Christian Romano from Hamden  

Posted: September 12th, 2013 11:00 PM

Mr. Coughlin it is obvious u r a puerile man who thinks that because some of us have limited incomes we are low lives I am a well educated disable man with 2 college degrees. I am working toward my 3rd in psycology. OOPS! I guess this discredits your prejudice idiot mentality. FYI my wife and I are the best on time tenants ever. I am a well respected Reverend in my community. And for many years I have worked closely with the police to keep my community. I feel sorry for. GET A life....

Jeff from Tinley Park  

Posted: August 16th, 2013 3:41 PM

Thank God the sequester has happened and that no new vouchers are going out anywhere, so this socialistic government program can not grow any more. More severe cuts coming in October. Congress is not going to reinstate funding, in fact I expect more and even steeper cuts in coming years. I know I'm voting for every Tea Party person I can so they can have an even bigger number in the house, they will kill the whole communist program. I'll sell my rentals before I rent to section 8

Don't Get Upset NOW from OP  

Posted: August 12th, 2013 2:04 PM

@Coughlin: There you go wishing again. It doesn't work. Never has. The bad decision has been made, and I wish no one harm either. But, if you put in low rent housing and concentrate the poverty, you'll have bad outcomes. You won't take the bet because you know that the crime will get worse in the area. Be honest -- you KNOW it will. Just pray that this kind of nonsense stops in the future -- the safety of our community is at stake.

OP Transplant  

Posted: August 12th, 2013 11:38 AM

My own first-person experience with Sec 8 tenants leads me to the conclusion that many of the people who require this type of assistance are in that position because of a pattern of poor decision making, especially as it relates to substance abuse and other low-grade criminal behavior. Call it anecdotal evidence, but it represents 100% of my personal experience. It's an unusual community that goes out of its way to lower it's average income, given the effects on education and crime statistics.

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: August 11th, 2013 11:28 PM

Interesting prop bet but kind of twisted that the winner is to be determined based upon the number of our neighbors who are the unfortunate victims of crime. I doubt you would want to be a position where you have a rooting interest in someone else's misery. Better for us to keep a good thought for all.

Don't Get Upset NOW from OP  

Posted: August 11th, 2013 7:43 PM

@Jim Coughlin: It's a wager. As a metric, may I suggest that we use crime statistics from a 6 block radius from the new development. If there's no increase in crime at all in the area once the building is occupied, then you win. If there's an increase, I win. Simple. Now, how much are you willing to lose? (I'll donate it all to the neighborhood watch program in the adjacent area)

OP Resident #751 from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: August 5th, 2013 9:49 PM

Jim, many neighbors are angry to have been drafted for the Village's Grand Social Experiment. We didn't volunteer. The majority of the neighbors objected and protested. The development was crammed down their throats regardless and many have since moved. It might turn out fine. I hope it does. Don't ask me not to resent the inside politics that prevailed in the hearings. If this goes south your church's good intentions don't pay our suddenly overweight mortgages and tax bills.

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: August 5th, 2013 6:52 PM

There are responsible parties involved in this project that you and others may seek to hold personally accountable. Contact them. I agreed to accept a wager from one person who posted a concern about negative effects on the neighborhoods surroundng this particular housing development. My confidence remains high that Interfaith will carefully screen all applicants. We've be promised that and should keep in mind that a majority of residents will already be members of our community either by already living or working in Oak Park. It is unfortunate that some folks have a mindset that the building's tenants will be criminals or attract unsavory individuals. I'm betting that won't be the case. Perhaps I am being naive but there's too much at stake to be anything but careful and diligent. Regarding fears about living among the working poor, there's little to say that will change anyone's view but hope that we follow the teachings of Jesus and embrace those who are less fortunate. I trust our local officials and church leaders to offer their full support and will address some of the concerns that have been expressed about the people who will be moving in on Madison Street.

Great divide  

Posted: August 5th, 2013 4:16 PM

So Jim, are you saying that we can hold you personally accountable if this project is a failure? If this place starts to attract criminal elements? Are you willing to take that responsibility, and pay out of pocket for any major repairs and legal fees that can be a result of having dysfunctional tenants? It warms my heart to hear the positive story, but it's hardly the rule, if we are to take an honest look at history.

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: August 5th, 2013 1:12 PM

I'll take that wager.

Violet Aura  

Posted: August 5th, 2013 12:21 PM

Kris, I would love for OPers to have that experience! When I grew up indocrinated with this nonsense, I thought that it would be the same everywhere. Now I understand why people CHOOSE to live in certain areas. While there are certainly people who are fear-based, which makes them extremely distrustful of the Other, there are also those who know what they want to live amongst and CHOOSE to move towards that situation. It's not hatred towards those who don't match that description, though!

Kris Goldberg  

Posted: August 5th, 2013 11:46 AM

I really do not see the value of encouraging poor people to move to our village. I agree with the tax breaks to seniors. Why do people in Oak Park want to live amongst the poor and crime prone members of our society. I just dont get it.

Doug Burke from Oak Park  

Posted: August 5th, 2013 9:44 AM

I have one personal experience of renting to a Section 8 tenant. It was a house in West Englewood. My tenant was excellent. She was on time with the rent. She was responsible about taking care of the place and was accurate in timely in reporting needed repairs. Her share of the rent started out small but grew over the 10-12 years she stayed, as her income went up. When her kids starting going off to college she moved to a smaller place she could pay for herself. A real success story.

Great divide  

Posted: August 5th, 2013 9:39 AM

Cont... that the tenant is home, only to have him either not home, tell you your guy came late and it's not his fault, or he'll just say it's not working again a couple of weeks later and dodge his rent again. This went on and on with my parent's, the guy threatened legal action based on BS discrimination charges... My parents were out thousands of dollars in rent and legal fees when the guy finally left, and the unit had to be remodeled. So Jim, please hold the "anecdotal" accusation.

Great divide  

Posted: August 5th, 2013 9:35 AM

Cont... Not to mention the stacking amounts of legal fees my parents had to deal with when trying to remove the low income tenet from their unit. Fact is, the rules and benefit of doubt is against the landlord. All a section 8 tenet has to do is complain that their air-conditioning or heating wasn't working to full capacity, or some other BS accusation, and they get away with not paying their rent. Plus, you have to go to all the trouble of hiring a guy to check on the problem, hope that cont...

Don't Get Upset NOW from OP  

Posted: August 5th, 2013 7:29 AM

So, Jim Coughlin's big plan for Madison St safety is to hope it all goes well. Yeah. Hope is never a good strategy. Sadly, the decision has been made and the neighborhood now has to deal with whatever happens. I'll wager it's bad. I like the suggestion for just getting my concealed carry permit now...since the Village doesn't listen to my concerns or seem to care about my family's safety, it's one of the few things I can do to ensure that we are protected despite the idiocy around us.

Great divide  

Posted: August 5th, 2013 12:23 AM

Realist, I'm not a conservative, but I can sure appreciate the situation the landlord in the video went through. History has shown the problems with low income housing, so it's deluded and naive to think that the potential issues that can happen won't in the Madison project, or that it's easy to solve. It took my parent's close to a year to get a section 8 tenet out, with months of unpaid rent and the apartment left unlivable.

realist from oak park  

Posted: August 4th, 2013 10:24 PM

Nothing to worry about? Don't be so sure...take a look at this....

Concealed Carry from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: August 4th, 2013 9:42 PM

Absolutely. Nothing to fear at all, Jim.

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: August 4th, 2013 1:08 AM

You have nothing to fear.

Concealed Carry from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: August 3rd, 2013 9:48 PM

At least I can apply for a concealed carry permit if the Project on Madison goes how I fear it may.

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: August 3rd, 2013 4:22 PM

I'm not sugarcoating how it can be a trying experience to be a landlord. We rented out the 2nd floor of our two-flat for many years with varied results. One tenant sought to involve herself in the raising of our children and was always quick to share with us, "if they were my kids". Others were very tolerant of the noise that three children can generate and the barking antics of our pups. All helped us afford the mortgage payments and we may go back to renting out the apartment sometime in the future. I did inspect mutli-family buildings in Oak Park and can report that the combination of a bad tenant and ineffective property management can lead to problems. You would be hardpressed to be able to determine which of a building's tenants were actually receiving some type of assistance.Thankfully, the majority of landlords are dedicated to making sure their property is well-maintained and renters are responsible individuals. Some folks may be relying on too much antecdotal evidence and speculation to form an opinion about the Interfaith project. There's too much at stake to let this become a failed experiment. It does address a need in our community and I welcome the development and our new neighbors. Hope all will too.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: August 3rd, 2013 3:08 PM

Jim - I do not want to belabor the Madison Housing issue. What is done is done, but it is important to understand that there is no precedent for having a singles only, Section 8 apartment any where in the HUD panorama of housing. It is worthwhile to remember that the original plan was for Section 8 family living in the old Comcast Building. It became a singles only because Interfaith could not make the family housing profitable. There was no social plan that dictated single housing. It was strictly a financial deal dumped on Oak Park by the alliance of housing subsidizers - HUD, the Illinois Housing Development (state), Cook County, etc. As far as Section 8 residents being no different in behavior or culture, at the Plan Commission meeting for the housing, several people testified that there were risks associated with SOME Section 8's. The witnesses included a married couple who had managed a ResCorp apartment and reported on many violations of health and conduct. Their comments were ignored. The couple, whom owned a business in Oak Park sold their house and moved from Oak Park. I disagree with your attempt to sugar coat the Section 8 issue. We chose to live in Oak Park and understood what we might face. We will do that, but not without being concerned about possible negative ramifications of the single housing experiment.

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: August 3rd, 2013 2:20 PM

If we are going to accept antecdotal evidence to make the case against Section 8, let's hear from landlords and property managers. During my years of inspecting rental units, I did not notice that people who were receiving housing assistance were more likely to be bad neighbors. Folks might be a bit surprised and shocked by some of the things a housing inspector will come across. Rooms completely covered from floor to ceiling with foil. Strange and large self portraits produced by a tenant depicting himself as well known historical figures. Hoarding of newspapers, magazines and junk mail. Massive collections of pennies, stuffed animals and clocks. The bad tenants were ordered to clean up unsafe conditions or be cited. It's really up to the property owner and their agent to maintain a building that is healthy and safe for all occupants. The police and health departments are able to provide invaluable support in cases where a tenant is uncooperative or living in distress. Properly screening a prospective tenant wil go a long towards preventing disruptive activities. It's in the best interests of Interfaith and our Village that the people who are going to be living in the Madison St. developement are good citizens and neighbors. I am not willing to accept the notion that Oak Park is asking for a world of trouble and am confident that a competent management team will address any problems that may arise.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: August 3rd, 2013 12:16 PM

Jim C - "She wants to be able to live independently but requires housing that can accomodate her disability. The trustees promised her they would work on the problem...." A couple of corrections. First, I have heard nothing to say that the village trustees have done anything further re the Madison Housing. Any leverage they had with Interfaith, the owner ended when the village approved the project. As far as the handicapped girl, there are HUD rules that have to be followed by Interfaith. One is that people already in private are not eligible irrespective of being a resident in Oak Park. That is; a big hurdle to get past. The girl is the daughter of a woman who was a Oak Park Housing Authority (project sponsor), Commissioner at the time of project approval. That might give her an edge.

OP Resident # 545 from Oak Park  

Posted: August 3rd, 2013 12:09 PM

The only real way Sec 8 works is if all towns in Cook County take in a like % of Sec 8 residents. Will RF accept X # of Sec 8? Will Norridge or Elmwood Pk? How about Hoffman Estates? OP is correct in that this is really a case of not-so-gold handcuffs. Of course, it's exactly the result desired by LBJ, RJ Daley, & big city Dems. Keep African Americans bottled up, & dependent upon govt for sustenance, thereby ensuring votes while proclaiming how "compassionate" you are. Liberalism=mental disorder

Great divide  

Posted: August 3rd, 2013 11:33 AM

Jim, I completely agree with "Done in OP". Rather than taxing seniors out of their homes so they don't have any other option other than to live in section 8 housing, why can't the village give retired seniors a tax break? After all, the village feels entitled to give section 8 residents from outside the village a handout. I find the whole "screening" plan problematic as there's so much you CAN'T screen for, like if someone was never caught doing crime, or a persons friends (potential gang ties).

Done from Oak Park  

Posted: August 3rd, 2013 8:56 AM

Jim - and odds are that those seniors have paid off their family home years ago and can't afford to live in the home because they are being taxed out of it - not to mention the increases in fees. That is no way to lose a home that a family was raised in. Their tax bill now for a year is probably more than they ever paid in mortgage payments for a year. So now they need to apply to move into a Section 8 building with less than stellar neighbors, characterwise? Better options are needed.


Posted: August 3rd, 2013 8:09 AM

I lived in an apartment building that accepted Section 8 (eventually becoming ALL Section 8) My locker was broken into, drugs were being sold right in front, my car was broken into twice and loud music was heard throughout a building that was once very quiet. It's amazing that people on Section 8 get most of their rent subsidized by taxpayer's and STILL cannot pay their rent. But then what do you expect from people who never work, have tons of kids and expect everyone else to pay for them.

so sad  

Posted: August 3rd, 2013 1:49 AM

Uh, Coughlin, that was a polite way of saying you were a sucker for the BS that was given to the public in support of this boondoggle. The sad part is that you actually pathetically believed the BS that you were spoon fed.

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: August 3rd, 2013 1:45 AM

I expect that the development will appeal to many Oak Park residents. Our village is a great place to live; if you can afford it. We know them first as our neighbors.The people from outside the Village that you mentioned will most likely be folks who work in Oak Park want to join the community. We know them at our local businesses. All people who care. Ne'er do wells need not apply.

Great divide  

Posted: August 3rd, 2013 1:28 AM

Jim, the scenario you've laid out is one of many possible. Another one could be that a few Oak Parkers in need get some units, the rest get filled up with people from outside the village, and then a few months later, some old timer residents find themselves in a place where they need low income assassinated residence, but it's all filled up. If the project is intended for residents of the village, to meet the needs of the people here, why was this project not made for "residents only"?

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: August 3rd, 2013 12:44 AM

Sad to learn you're so sad. Some folks certainly are but should hope the outlook improves. The development under construction is going to meet a real need in the community. Think of an Oak Park resident who is also a senior. See that they might be stressed moneywise trying to stay on in their family home and now an empty nest. That senior has lived, raised a family in Oak Park and has close ties in their neighborhood, church and social club and wants to continue to live in this village. Depending on income, a senior will be able to find affordable housing in their hometown. That's a good thing. The people who will provide management services for this new housing development are experienced with a proven track record of achievement. Not to worry. It's all in good hands and if there are problems or concerns that may arise in that neighborhood; they are not going to be ignored. Nothing about this hints of politics. A community need is being addressed in a promising manner.

Great divide  

Posted: August 2nd, 2013 11:38 PM

Jim, the model that has historically worked in Oak Park is mixed economic integration. The model that has failed around the region with disastrous consequences is concentrating low income groups. How this "project" got the green light is beyond sense, and intelligent research. I'm more willing to believe that this project is more about politics. Plus, it is ironic that this "project" is for residents when the real need for residents is the disabled and aging populations.

so sad  

Posted: August 2nd, 2013 8:34 PM

Mr. Coughlin, you really think a housing project involving federal funds can discriminate against potential tenants in that manner?

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: August 2nd, 2013 6:12 PM

The housing project being built on Madison Street and Oak Park Avenue will provide affordable housing for current Oak Park residents who want to continue to live in our community. They will get priority and, like all applicants, be carefully screened. People who work in Oak Park will also receive preference. Sadly, there few and limited options in the Village for disabled people. Anyone who remembers the young woman who spoke to board of her desire to continue to live Oak Park had to have been impressed. She wants to be able to live independently but requires housing that can accomodate her disability. The trustees promised her they would work on the problem and that the board was well aware of the difficulty that some disabled people were encountering trying to locate housing that addresses issues relating to living with a physical handicap. I hope that the issue is still on the table and we will soon hear of some progress towards a solution.

Don't Get Upset NOW from OP  

Posted: August 2nd, 2013 4:03 PM

Why get upset over this change since the Village Fathers already decided to let a Housing Project be built on Madison Street (under construction now). This is just another example of our declining community....but now THIS one could be in YOUR backyard. Welcome to OP where we care so much about diversity that we can no longer make sensible choices to keep our community safe and our schools focused on excellence. It's truly frustrating given the taxes we pay and how great this town could be.

Housing Guru  

Posted: August 2nd, 2013 3:34 PM

I propose the following challenge: Give me one positive thing for the community that Section 8 housing provides. The only thing I can think of is that it allows me to brag to my friends that I am better than them because I live in a community that thinks that blacks and whites and rich and poor are the same type of people. They usually look at me like I am a retarded. I work hard so I dont have to live with poor people. drive through austin and look at the litter and porch hangers out

OP Transplant  

Posted: August 2nd, 2013 3:14 PM

I've lived in buildings that had Sec 8 tenants. My own experience is overwhelmingly negative. I sympathize with property owners on this one. It's very easy to tell other people what they should do in the name of "fairness" when it doesn't impact your own life at all.

Desmond Smith  

Posted: August 2nd, 2013 1:53 PM

Principal I hope you are not implying that children that are raised in section 8 homes are not as smart as those raised by parents who might have read to them when they were young, monitor what time they get home at night, watch who they hang out with, have both parents involved in the family, monitor their diet and health instead of counting on others to do that, make sure they dress appropriately. I think section 8 people are not bad people and would welcome them with my open checkbook

Principal Belding  

Posted: August 2nd, 2013 1:38 PM

You can expect those school test scores to change significantly.

section 8  

Posted: August 2nd, 2013 9:43 AM

section 8 at least guarantees a portion of the rent will be paid every month.

Done from Oak Park  

Posted: August 2nd, 2013 9:26 AM

Disaster. Waiting. To. Happen.

joe from south oak park  

Posted: August 2nd, 2013 8:35 AM

so assuming that a person working full time at minimum wage takes home about $1050 a month, depending on exemptions, and also assuming that folks are paying about 20% in social security and income tax combined. in this situation would the section 8 holder would pay about $315 a month in rent while the voucher would cover the remainder? So, for a two bedroom apartment going for $850 a month the voucher would cover $535?


Posted: August 2nd, 2013 7:50 AM

I am African American and have an entire side of the family that has been on Section 8 sonce the 60's. The children and family have fared poorly, have not grown wealth or been able to free themselves from cycle. The reality here is Section 8 is golden handcuff. Secondly, when you don't own it/given you don not value it. Finally, don't get on a high horse about all the virtues of section 8 renters - and glorify it - not true.

Jean Lotus from Oak Park, Illinois Wednesday Journal Employee

Posted: August 1st, 2013 7:41 PM

Thanks for the corrections. We've updated the article.

Edward Solan from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: August 1st, 2013 7:11 PM

The meeting on August 12 is a Village sponsored meeting of the Housing Programs Advisory Committee and the Community Relations Commission. It is not sponsored by the Oak Park Housing Authority.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: August 1st, 2013 6:58 PM

It is ironic that the three government bodies that do the most interfering with housing are also the three bodies that can't seem to control their finances.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: August 1st, 2013 6:56 PM

Sounds like they are boycotting the commissions.

Rob Breymaier from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: August 1st, 2013 6:53 PM

Additional factual error on the sidebar. Neither the Housing Center not the Housing Authority have anything to do with the meeting's organization.


Posted: August 1st, 2013 6:31 PM

She also spelled your name wrong.

Rob Breymaier from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: August 1st, 2013 5:49 PM

The sidebar is inaccurate. The meeting on August 12 will be a joint meeting of the Community Relations Commission and the Housing Programs Advisory Committee. The issue is not going before the Village Board on August 12.

Seriously? from Oak Park  

Posted: August 1st, 2013 5:12 PM

OP, it's unfortunate that the government has to tell business owners not to discriminate, but let's be honest, they will if given the chance. Just because someone is on assistance does not make them a bad person. There are plenty of people who are not on assistance who lack character, don't follow the rules and make bad tenants as well. Be careful, your bias is showing.


Posted: August 1st, 2013 4:58 PM

yet another example of government telling private business owners what to do... owners will find other reasons to reject applicant or stop taking them ... no one should have to accept people on assistance - nice if they choose but not required

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