Chicago, IL

John Marshall Fair Housing Law Conference to honor Bill Caruso

September 08, 2016
The John Marshall Law School will honor fair housing law pioneer F. Willis "Bill" Caruso tonight at a dinner in his honor.
     Caruso, who retired from John Marshall in January, has been a force in fair housing for nearly 50 years. He was a clinical professor of law and co-executive director of The John Marshall Law School Fair Housing Legal Clinic from 1994 to 2015. Prior to joining John Marshall, Caruso was the general counsel of the Leadership Council for Metropolitan Open Communities and the general counsel for the Chicago Housing Authority. He has litigated over a thousand fair housing cases including the US Supreme Court cases The Village of Arlington Heights v Metropolitan Housing Development Corp. and Gladstone Realtors v Village of Bellwood. He also has written numerous articles and a textbook on fair housing and lending. In addition to his work in fair housing, Caruso has provided pro bono services in thousands of cases. In 2013, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and the Chicago Chapter of the Federal Bar Association honored him with its Excellence in Public Interest Service award. Earlier this year the National Fair Housing Alliance at its annual national conference honored Caruso for his work.

Reserve developer sues Tinley

April 19, 2016
The developer of a proposed apartment building in Tinley Park filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday accusing village officials of violating federal and state fair housing laws and asks a judge to stop them from "unlawfully interfering" in the project.
     Buckeye Community Hope Foundation also seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
     Plans for the nonprofit's The Reserve, a 47-unit building at 183rd Street and Oak Park Avenue, have been on hold since a vote by the village's Plan Commission was tabled in early February. Tinley Park also has asked the Cook County Sheriff's Inspector General to look at the review process behind the development.
     

Reserve developer sues Tinley

April 19, 2016
The developer of a proposed apartment building in Tinley Park filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday accusing village officials of violating federal and state fair housing laws and asks a judge to stop them from "unlawfully interfering" in the project.
     Buckeye Community Hope Foundation also seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
     Plans for the nonprofit's The Reserve, a 47-unit building at 183rd Street and Oak Park Avenue, have been on hold since a vote by the village's Plan Commission was tabled in early February. Tinley Park also has asked the Cook County Sheriff's Inspector General to look at the review process behind the development.
     

Student veterans seek fair housing opportunities

February 21, 2016
Danny Woodruff, a junior theatre major from Indiana, served in the Army for six-and-a-half years from 2006 to 2013 and was deployed in the Middle East from 2010 to 2011.
     Upon returning home, Woodruff could not find housing because many of the city’s landlords rejected his GI Bill housing allowance, a benefit, along with tuition assistance, that is available to former members of the military.
     “I had to go to Indianapolis, back home where my parents live, and have them co-sign on my lease,” Woodruff said.
     Landlords would ignore him and never get back to him, Woodruff said, adding that his lack of rent history or proof of income and pay stubs made housing applications a struggle because his housing allowance from the Veteran’s Administration is distributed electronically.
     A number of veterans have experienced difficulties getting landlords to rent to them because they receive benefits from the government that fund their housing, but as Woodruff noted, landlords often want to see pay stubs.

HSBC to face Cook County discriminatory lending lawsuit

October 01, 2015
The Britain-based bank's plea to dismiss the lawsuit filed by Cook County, IL in 2014 was rejected by the U.S. District Judge John Lee in Chicago. The news was reported by Reuters.
     The lawsuit accuses HSBC of using discriminatory lending practices toward minority borrowers. The company had sought dismissal of the case on the ground that it was filed very late by Cook County. Also, the bank questioned the county's legal position for claiming compensation under the U.S. Fair Housing Act. However, Lee rejected HSBC's appeal.
     Notably, while passing the judgment, Lee wrote, "The county has alleged a widespread scheme of discriminatory lending which involved all the various defendants. This is sufficient to survive a motion to dismiss."
     

West Loop becoming a 'Bigot Neighborhood,' Alderman suggests in rent fight

July 08, 2015
After fielding complaints about new rental developments in the West Loop for months, one alderman has a new word to describe neighbors' opposition to renters: "discrimination."
     At a Tuesday night meeting to consider a proposed 80-unit apartment building near the Morgan 'L' station, Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. (27th) said that renters have just as much of a right to live in the West Loop as condo owners and homeowners do.
     "Quite frankly, the [opposition to rentals] in this neighborhood is a bunch of bunk," Burnett said. "Most people in this neighborhood have been renting out their condos for a long time."
     From now on, the alderman said all developers who want to build in the West Loop neighborhood located in the 27th Ward will be required to dedicate 10 percent of units built on site for affordable housing.

HUD looks to end housing discrimination, Predatory lending against minorities

April 10, 2015
If you thought housing discrimination was dead — you thought wrong.
     According to HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, housing discrimination is still alive and kicking. In 2014, HUD has handled discrimination cases dealing with:
     Race/national Origin Maternity Lending Disability Domestic Violence Survivors Families with Children
     HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity is working hard to combat unlawful housing discrimination. Of the 8,850 complaints that were received in Fiscal Year 2014, 8,281 were resolved, resulting in almost $33 million in compensation for victims and victims’ funds.

Five Chicago housing providers sued over alleged discrimination against the deaf

March 10, 2015
The disability advocacy group Access Living is suing five Chicago housing providers for allegedly violating of the federal Fair Housing Act by discriminating against people who are deaf.
     Access Living, in partnership with Kirkland & Ellis LLP, filed the five housing complaints -- based on "fair housing tests" that paired deaf and non-disabled testers -- in federal court on Tuesday.
     "It's hard enough for people with disabilities to find accessible, affordable housing," Access Living's President and CEO Marca Bristo said at a news conference to announce the complaint filings. "But when people with disabilities face discrimination by housing providers, the struggle to find housing becomes exponentially more difficult."

Melissa Harris-Perry Is Ringing the alarm on the Supreme Court’s decision on fair housing in America

January 27, 2015
The U.S. Supreme Court is reviewing the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. case for the third time and news anchor Melissa Harris-Perry thinks we should all be “very afraid.”
     This case has somewhat challenges the Fair Housing Act of 1968 that determined no one could be denied a place to live based on their race, culture, religion, and today, sexual orientation. The above case however is a reflection of that law 45 years later. “When the court rules on this case…it could be amongst one of the most historic and consequential choices ever made about an issue at the heart of American lives and dreams…the place we call home,” Harris-Perry said this weekend on her “Melissa Harris-Perry Show.”

Developers face bigger fees if they miss affordable housing quota

December 08, 2014
Developers of some of Chicago's highest-priced apartments and condominiums will have to create affordable housing or write even bigger checks if City Hall pushes through an affordable housing ordinance expected to be introduced Wednesday.
     Changes to the city's 7-year-old Affordable Requirements Ordinance have some of the largest companies worried that their ability to build and build very profitably along the lakefront in highly coveted neighborhoods will be at risk.
     For the past seven years, developers of new or rehabbed projects with 10 or more units that either needed a zoning increase or were on city land had to make 10 percent of their units affordable for middle-income families. The requirement was 20 percent if the city provided financial assistance or if the project was within a tax-increment financing district.
     Most, however, opted instead to pay an in-lieu fee of $100,000 per required unit into a city fund used to build affordable housing elsewhere in the city.

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