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Illinois House passes proposal to help low-income families pay for housing applications

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Many people struggle to pay processing fees for housing applications when they have little to no income. Democratic state lawmakers want to create a special grant program to provide assistance for anyone left in that situation.

Rep. Anne Stava-Murray (D-Downers Grove) wanted to create the Emergency Solutions Grant program to help families who don’t make enough to have a place to call home. The plan could prohibit landlords, mortgage companies, and rental property owners from charging administrative fees on housing applications submitted by people using this assistance.

Assistance previously came from the Emergency Shelter Grant program which was created through the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing Act.

Property owners would still have the ability to conduct background checks on applicants. However, anyone violating this legislation could face unlawful practice charges under the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act.

Stava-Murray said lawmakers should put the needs of the most vulnerable over landlords.

“It’s clear that they’re abusing this ability to try and keep people out and deny housing. I think that that’s disgusting,” Stava-Murray added.

She also asked her colleagues to think about someone they know going through a tough financial situation before voting Thursday.

This proposal passed on a partisan 70-43 vote. It now moves to the Senate for consideration.

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Mike Miletich

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