September 28, 2016 marks the first step towards a change in Chicago Housing Authority’s utility allowance practices. After a much anticipated wait, Federal District Court Judge Gary Feinerman has given Chicago public housing residents hope by denying CHA’s motion to dismiss a class-action lawsuit filed by six Chicago public housing residents. HSPRD’s Matthew Piers and Christopher Wilmes and Kate Walz of Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law are representing the residents in this case.
According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development rules, public housing authorities may not charge residents more than 30 percent of their income for the cost of rent and utilities. As a result, the CHA is required to provide residents a rent credit that reasonably approximates their out-of-pocket utility costs. Over the last nine years, however, CHA has not updated residents’ utility allowances despite significant increases in utility costs. As a result, residents have been forced to pay more than thirty percent of their income towards rent and utilities. The residents are asking CHA to update their utility allowance formula and to pay them back for the years of rent overcharges.
Check back to HSPRD News as more updates on this case develop.