COOK COUNTY PRAISES THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT’S ORDER TO PRESERVE SMALL AREA FAIR MARKET RENT DESIGNATIONS
Housing Authority Officials Vow to Continue to Promote Fair Housing Programs
(Cook County) – The Housing Authority of Cook County (HACC) praised the recent Motion for Preliminary Injunction titled Suspension of Small Area Fair Market Rent (FMR) Designations – a HUD rule that would have suspended subsidized housing costs for low- income families to find decent and affordable housing in “higher opportunity” areas.
Open Communities Alliance and two voucher holders sought to preserve an existing fair market rent system that would have been delayed by HUD for two years until fair market rent standards were calculated.
In 2016, Cook County was one of 24 metropolitan areas selected by HUD to calculate housing vouchers’ values based on local, prevailing market rents. The HACC was one of five public housing agencies to participate in the pilot program. The goal of the pilot program was to create a more effective way for Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) tenants to move into higher – opportunity areas with better quality-of-life choices, such as better schools, healthcare, and transportation options.
“There’s no doubt that the families who have moved into fair market rent or opportunity areas have greatly improved their quality of life – especially families with children. People have the right to expect that housing will be available to them regardless of their race, gender, age, disability, religion, source of income and other bases, and we all deserve the opportunity to choose a home, quality school or neighborhood free from discrimination,” said HACC Executive Director Richard Monocchio.
Cook County has been a longtime advocate of fair housing and ended the exclusion of HCV holders from source of income protections – a battle that housing advocates have been fighting for almost 10 years. The HACC has long supported the Fair Housing Act and the County has been a trailblazer in recognizing the need to combat the effects of housing bias.
“I join the HACC in supporting the court’s action in preserving the existing fair market rent system for voucher holders,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. “The HACC’s Housing Choice Voucher program has led to demonstrable quality-of-life improvements for our tenants, and it’s an initiative we want to continue.”
Equality, dignity and freedom are core elements incorporated into the Cook County Human Rights Commission Ordinance adopted in 1993 that are designed to protect all people who live and work in the County from discrimination and sexual harassment in employment, public accommodations, housing, credit transactions, county services and county contracting.
Since 2016, HACC’s mobility program has placed more than 160 families into opportunity areas throughout Cook County encompassing over 122 communities and dozens of Zip codes.
“These are progressive advancements that we can be proud of and poor families have benefitted from. We believe where people live plays a role in their success in life and our mobility team will continue to advocate for families who want to improve their quality of life. We also look forward to sharing our mobility strategies with other PHAs seeking input on opportunity area moves,” Monocchio added.
The Memorandum Opinion can be found at: