Victims of Housing Discrimination Now Have Almost Twice as Long to File Complaints

Photo by  Brandi Ibrao  on  Unsplash

Photo by Brandi Ibrao on Unsplash

Last month, a study conducted by the Housing Opportunity Project of Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights revealed that housing discrimination against people on the basis of their race and their source of income is still rampant in Chicago. Now there is some good news for victims of housing discrimination: The Chicago Commission on Human Relations (CCHR), the local agency responsible for enforcing the city’s human rights and fair housing laws, has extended the length of time that complainants can file charges of discrimination, from 180 days to 300 days following an alleged discriminatory act.

Our Housing Opportunity Project frequently represents people who file complaints with CCHR, and our attorneys have helped many families obtain relief from discrimination. Senior Staff Attorney Barbara Barreno-Paschall, who leads the Housing Opportunity Project, believes more action must be taken to combat housing discrimination in the city.

“I am so pleased that folks now have additional time to file claims of housing discrimination under the Chicago Fair Housing Ordinance and Human Rights Ordinance,” said Barreno-Paschall.

“I believe this will help ensure that more Chicagoans, including women of color who constitute the majority of victims of source of income discrimination, will come forward and report violations to CCHR.”

City Council approved the change to the filing deadlines in December 2018, but the legislation did not take effect until January 23, 2019. Instances of discrimination that occurred before January 23rd are not eligible for the new statute of limitations. Also in the same legislation, City Council amended relevant ordinances to broaden protections against retaliation.

In its monthly newsletter this January, CCHR wrote that the changes to the ordinances will “provide more protection from discrimination and assist victims.”

You can read more about the work of the Housing Opportunity Project here. For more information about the filing process at the Commission, please visit the Commission’s website here.

Timna Axel