Housing for People with Records

Home is the cornerstone from which people build better lives for themselves and their families. People with records, like everyone else, deserve a place to call home. But it can be almost impossible for them to find an apartment or house to rent.

This is a community-wide problem. 1 in 3 Americans has an arrest record by the age of 23, regardless of race or gender. And, as of 2022, 15,764 Illinoisians are incarcerated in jails or prisons. When they can’t find homes, it affects not only them but also their families and everyone in their communities.

Stable housing opportunities for people with records are key to reducing recidivism and helping us build stronger, safer communities.

Why Racial Justice Matters

Housing policies that ban people with records harm people of color the most. Illinois has large racial and ethnic disparities in our prisons and our jails.

This greatly affects families and communities of color. Nationally, 63% of Black and Native American adults and 48% of Latinx adults have had an immediate family member spend at least one night in jail or prison compared to just 42% of White adults.

Additionally, while Black people make up 12% of the U.S. population, they make up an estimated 28% of all arrests


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Take Action

In April 2019, we successfully passed the Just Housing Amendment, which will ensure housing providers in Cook County do not discriminate against applicants with arrest and conviction records. Thank Cook County Commissioners for their courage in supporting just housing »


Learn about the Just Housing Amendment »


Share your story about having a record and looking for a home » 

Gianna Baker addresses a crowd at a rally in April 2019, just before the Just Housing Amendment passed

What Have We Been Doing?

  • Housing Action Illinois is proud to be a leader of the Just Housing Initiative. This coalition of individuals with arrest and conviction records, social service providers, community organizers, legal and policy experts, housing and criminal justice advocates formed to address housing barriers faced by individuals with arrest and conviction records.
  • In 2019, the Just Housing Initiative successfully passed protections from housing discrimination for people with records in Cook County. Learn more »
  • Housing Action Illinois congratulates our allies in the Restoring Rights and Opportunities Coalition of Illinois in their work to pass state legislation (SB 1780) that amends the Illinois Human Rights statute to protect people with records from discrimination when seeking housing. Additionally, Housing Action commends them for working to pass The Public Housing Access Bill, which sets standards for Public Housing Authorities to use in the criminal background screening process. These new standards improve equity and access to affordable housing for those with criminal records. 

Housing Action Illinois
67 E. Madison Street, Suite 1603
Chicago, IL 60603
(312) 939-6074 • info@housingactionil.org