It’s the first of the month — and rent is due for many Chicago residents. The pandemic and economic shutdown have made that a difficult task across the state, which is why Gov. J.B. Pritkzer extended a moratorium on evictions through the end of July.
Housing equity activists say the moratorium should extend beyond that, but landlords say their livelihoods are in jeopardy with the stream of income generated from rent running out.
Illinois U.S. Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia is pushing for a nationwide extended moratorium bill in Congress due to the potential for the virus to spread among states.
“People are becoming more desperate,” Garcia said. “There is a concern that as we see a great surge in new COVID cases in southern states that we could be headed for a worsening economy and that that will make it more difficult for states that are doing better, like Illinois, from coming back to work and a sense of normalcy.”
On Wednesday, the Lift the Ban Coalition, a Chicago housing activist group, called for an extension of the state’s eviction moratorium and a lifting of its rent control ban.
High school teacher Ivy Abid, a member of the group’s steering committee, said she hears from tenants in the city who are worried about feeding themselves and keeping a roof over their heads.
“Our answer to this problem cannot be to continually ask the most vulnerable parts of our population to absorb this crisis entirely by ourselves,” Abid said.
But Paul Arena, the legislative affairs director of the Illinois Rental Property Owners Association, said landlords should be able to take tenants to court over issues unrelated to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Our objection is that cases that have nothing to do with the virus should not be prohibited from going to court,” Arena said. “And regardless, of this should be in the discretion of the court and the judge.”