End of Eviction Moratorium Highlights Housing Disparities

Published September 15, 2021

Spanish Coalition for Housing Executive Director Joseph LopezSpanish Coalition for Housing Executive Director Joseph LopezBy Joseph Lopez, Executive Director of the Spanish Coalition for Housing

As the Illinois Eviction Moratorium comes to an end this month, many Chicagoans are still facing negative financial impacts from COVID-19, resulting in real concerns about rent affordability. This is especially prevalent among low-income communities and Chicago’s communities of color, as these residents are more likely to rent their homes. Therefore, an end to the eviction ban could further impact Chicago’s communities that have already been disproportionately affected by the pandemic and further highlight housing disparities across Chicago.

In McKinley Park, over 40 percent of housing units are rentals, and more than half of the neighborhood's households made less than $50,000 prior to the pandemic. Additionally, more than 55 percent of its population is Hispanic, and almost a quarter is Asian. Given the aforementioned trends, many McKinley Park residents are at risk to be directly impacted by the end to the eviction ban.

The Spanish Coalition for Housing

However, such impacts are not new to McKinley Park, as the neighborhood has recognized for years a need to preserve housing affordability and increase affordable housing options due to gentrification. The end of the eviction moratorium further highlights housing disparities in McKinley Park and Chicago as a whole, allowing for more advocacy opportunities that result in more equal housing.

The Spanish Coalition for Housing (SCH), a housing counseling agency dedicated to fair housing, has been an advocate for Chicagoans for 55 years and continues to do so, especially as we still are affected by COVID-19. Throughout the pandemic, SCH has supported its neighbors, including the McKinley Park community, by helping them access various resources, such as utility, rental and mortgage assistance.

We plan to continue these efforts as the Eviction Moratorium is lifted. In addition to these immediate resources, SCH also offers long-term housing resources, such as free educational workshops through its Community Alliance program, which helps connect Chicagoans to affordable housing and additional Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) resources.

Help for Small Landlords

On the other – and often forgotten  – side of fair and affordable housing is independent, small landlords. While renters are about to be affected by the end of the eviction ban, these landlords have been impacted throughout its entirety. In Chicago, about 70 percent of rental units are owned by small- and mid-sized landlords, which is reflected in McKinley Park with most landlords owning and renting only one or two properties.

Being independent property owners, many of these landlords depend on their tenants’ rent to pay their bills; therefore, the Illinois Eviction Moratorium put these small landlords at risk. Additionally, these landlords have the largest share of African-American and Hispanic owners, whose households, as mentioned previously, have already been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

SCH also helped small, independent landlords throughout the pandemic by connecting them to resources to improve property management and maintain safe, sustainable and affordable housing for rental units throughout the city. We also connected them to long-term landlord resources, such as the Chicago Housing Authority's Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program that positions landlords to have reliable rent payments, lower vacancy rates, free property inspections and even a potential reduction in property taxes.

Finding a Balance

Overall, the Illinois Eviction Moratorium has shined the light further on housing disparities, from the perspective of both renters and landlords. While there are no immediate answers to Chicago’s fair housing issues, we do know that there will need to be a balance of affordable housing for renters, more equal opportunities for individuals seeking to become homeowners, as well as for those who independently rent property across the City.

If you are impacted by the eviction ban ending or are seeking long-term resources for affordable housing or property owner resources, feel free to reach out to SCH via email (help@sc4housing.com) or call the Southwest Region hotline at (312) 850-2660, the Southeast Region at (773) 933-7575 and the North Region at (773) 342-7575.

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