State considers housing laws

By Nina Gougis

Illinois may pass two amendments in hopes of helping low and moderate income families receive low income housing.

The DeKalb County Continuum of Care discussed the possible amendments in addition to concerns for its proposed five-year budget at Tuesday’s meeting.

The Statewide Housing Action Coalition, a group of 100 organizations that work to increase low income housing, proposed the amendments and will continue to meet with state legislatures to help get them passed, said Tammie Grossman, executive director.

If passed in January, one amendment would make it illegal for landlords to refuse renting to people because they receive social security or child support as a source of income.

Many landlords who refused to rent to them claimed child support and social security were not reliable sources of income, Grossman said.

“We really believe [it] is another form of discrimination that we as a state have already prohibited,” Grossman said.

The other amendment would grant subsidiaries to landlords throughout the state who, in turn, would provide low income housing.

Concerns included building another homeless shelter in Sandwich to ease overcrowded conditions at Hope Haven, 1145 Rushmoore Drive, said Sue Guio, community services coordinator for DeKalb.

Other concerns included the lack of medical and dental coverage for homeless or low income families.

Many low income families have Medicaid, but many dentists won’t take Medicaid patients because they will be paid a reduced fee, Guio said.

Guio said getting a group of dentists to agree to take a small number of Medicaid cases each year would help ease the problem and keep the dentists from losing money.

Creating homeless- and affordable-housing programs has been a challenge because lack of state funding for them, Guio said.

“Unfortunately, we don’t have control over the state, so we have to come up with strategies for our programs and ask the state to fund these strategies,” she said.

The DCCC will hold its next meeting in January to work on its five-year budget.