Third Plaintiff Joins Lawsuit Against Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios

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Last week, the South Suburban Housing Center (SSHC), an agency that enforces fair housing and has provided housing counseling for the south metropolitan Chicago area since 1975, joined two other community organizations as plaintiffs in our lawsuit against the office of Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios. The south suburbs of Chicago, whose demographics have changed rapidly in recent years, are home to many families struggling with the cost of housing.
 
“With the addition of SSHC, the plaintiffs bringing this lawsuit now represent homeowners across the south and west sides of Chicago who bear the brunt of an unfair and unequal property tax burden in Cook County,” remarked our Advocacy Director Aneel Chablani.
 
“This is a clear demand for justice and court-mandated reform from low-income families and communities of color long discriminated against by the Assessor’s Office.”
 
Multiple independent studies have shown that under the current assessment system, residential properties in majority-White census tracts are chronically under-valued compared to their market value; while residential properties in majority-Hispanic and majority African-American census tracts are chronically over-valued compared to their market value. Without the Court’s action, Berrios will continue to over-assess (and thus over-tax) homeowners in Hispanic, Black, and poor neighborhoods.
 
You can read more about the case here.

Fair HousingTimna Axel