Locked Out Barriers to Choice for Housing Voucher Holders

June 2002

For over 20 years, the Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing, Inc. (LCBH) has been the premier public interest law firm specializing in housing law and policy in Chicago. LCBH’s mission is to increase the availability of safe, decent, and affordable housing for people of low and moderate income in the City of Chicago through legal and public advocacy and community education. Two programs – the Attorney of the Day Eviction Defense Program (AOD) and the Affordable Housing Conservation Program – assist low-income tenants faced with eviction or problems with dangerous or deteriorating buildings. Throughout its history LCBH has advocated on behalf of tenants and has made significant contributions to tenants’ rights and affordable housing initiatives, through research and studies, fair housing testing, and policy reports. A new Social Services Department aids LCBH clients who face problems beyond their immediate housing crisis.

This LCBH report is based on testing of Chicago landlords to determine the extent of illegal discrimination against tenants who pay rent with Section 8 Vouchers (now known as Housing Choice Vouchers). Significant discrimination has implications for tenants displaced by the demolition of public housing projects who wish to relocate into the private sector. Based on the test findings, recommendations for reducing discrimination and improving the odds that these families can find suitable housing are made.