disab access 052322CHICAGO – State Senators Ram Villivalam and Robert Peters celebrated the signing of two new laws Monday that will protect Illinoisans with disabilities from housing discrimination and make state government more accessible to the community.

House Bill 2775, sponsored by Villivalam (D-Chicago), adds “source of income” to the Illinois Human Rights Act's protections against discrimination in real estate transactions, making it a civil rights violation to refuse to consider an individual for housing solely based on their source of income. To comply with the law, housing providers are required to treat each applicant the same during their evaluation and screening process.

“No one should be denied housing when they have the means to make the rent,” Villivalam said. “This newly signed law offers protections to individuals on government assistance, single mothers receiving child support and seniors on fixed incomes who may have been turned away from housing in the past.”

More than half of Illinois households are susceptible to source of income discrimination because they earn non-wage income, such as social security, retirement income and public assistance. In addition, about 99,000 households who use Housing Choice Vouchers to pay their rent often experience source of income discrimination. Protections against this kind of discrimination are in place in 19 other states, as well as the cities of Chicago, Urbana and Naperville, as well as Cook County.

Senate Bill 180, sponsored by Peters (D-Chicago), forms the General Assembly Accessibility Task Force to provide recommendations to support accommodations so people with disabilities can fully participate in government events at the Illinois State Capitol. The task force will include individuals who self-identify as having a disability.

“The Capitol grounds belong to all the people,” said Peters. “Everyone, regardless of the nature of their disability, should be able to navigate their way through our public spaces.”

Both laws will protect Illinoisans with disabilities and make the institutions that serve them more accessible. House Bill 2775 and Senate Bill 180 were signed by the governor on Monday and took immediate effect.