April 25's County Board meeting saw the passage of Commissioner Brandon Johnson's Just Housing ordinance amendment with at 15-2 vote. In a survey of formerly incarcerated individuals, four out of five respondents identified themselves as being either ineligible for or denied housing because their own, or a loved one's, criminal history.
This amendment to the human relations code seeks to address this issue and ensure equal access to housing by mandating that landlords cannot discriminate in a real estate transaction based solely on an arrest record, citation, juvenile record or sealed record.
In the 14th District, more than 115 people return from Illinois prisons after justly serving their sentences, and about 66% of those returning to the 14th District are women who reported having children. Ensuring that returning citizens have equal access to housing in paramount. This common-sense legislation will go a long way in reducing homelessness and recidivism in Cook County.