The State of Illinois has passed a law known as the Illinois Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) (5 ILCS 140). Under FOIA, records in possession of HACC may be accessed by the public upon written request. Pursuant to 5 ILCS 140 Section 2, (c), a public record is any records, reports, forms, writings, letters, memoranda, books, papers, maps, photographs, cards, tapes, recordings, electronic data processing records, electronic communications, recorded information and all other documentary materials of physical form or characteristics, having been prepared, or having been or being used, received, possessed or under the control of any public body.
For non-commercial purpose requests, HACC must either comply with or deny a written request for public records within five (5) business days after receiving it. Under certain circumstances, as set out under 5 ILCS 140/3(d), the five business day time limit may be extended for five additional business days. For commercial purpose requests, HACC has 21 business days to respond. In addition, a written agreement with the requestor can extend the deadline for response beyond the statutory time requirements.
Please note that some records are not subject to release via the FOIA process, and these types of records are described under 5 ILCS 140, Section 7 and Section 7.5. In addition, some records are subject to confidentiality provisions imposed by other state or federal laws; the FOIA process for disclosure does not supersede these other applicable statutes or laws.
Request to Inspect Public Records under FOIA
FOIA form (pdf downloadable form)
For more information on the Freedom of Information Act, please refer to the Act itself. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions and answers about your rights under FOIA.
Q: How do I file a FOIA request?
A: Submit a written request via the FOIA form available above, identifying the documents requested and the name, address and telephone number and/or email or other contact information of the requestor by US mail, special carrier, email or facsimile to the Freedom of Information Officer as follows:
FOIA Officer, Housing Authority of Cook County (HACC)
175 W. Jackson Boulevard, Suite 350
Chicago, IL 60604
or via Fax number: (312) 327-4289
Q: What are the fees charged for a FOIA request?
A: The HACC may charge a fee for your request. This fee is currently set at $.10 per page, with the first 50 pages of a request being provided for free. Reproduction of photographs will be $.50 per image, or the actual cost of reproduction as stated herein. In the event that a commercial copying or reproduction service is needed to reproduce documents and/or images, the actual cost of copying will be charged. A waiver of the fee may be available in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act (5 ILCS 140/6).
Q: How will I know how much money to send with a request?
A: At the time that your request is complete, an employee of the HACC will contact you and notify you of the fee required.
Q: Will HACC send me the documents and then let me pay the fee?
A: No, the fee must be paid prior to the documents being sent to the requestor.
Q: What information do I need to provide to HACC in order to obtain information under FOIA
A: A requestor may complete the FOIA Request Form provided herein, or you may send your request in writing. In addition to the requestor’s name, address and telephone number, or other contact information, please clearly identify the records being sought and the dates of such records, if applicable.
For questions or comments, please Deborah Kyker at (312) 542-4712.
Q: What happens if HACC denies my request?
A: If HACC denies the request, the requestor has the right to seek a Request for Review of response by the Public Access Counselor (PAC) in the Attorney General’s Office, Public Access Bureau. The PAC can be contacted at:
Public Access Bureau
500 S. 2nd Street
Springfield, IL 62707
Q: Can HACC ask for extension of time to provide the information I am requesting?
A: yes, the HACC can ask for an extension of time for five additional business days. If the request is unduly burdensome pursuant to Section 3(g) of the FOIA, the HACC will inform me. If the request I am making contains information that HACC claims to be exempt from disclosure under Section 7 of the Act, HACC will inform me in writing.