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Fighting for renters and against gentrification

Since 1997, Illinois has allowed landlords to raise rents as high as they want, as often as they want.

“We know rental cost burden in Illinois is pushing many working families into poverty,” said Roderick Wilson, executive director of the Lugenia Burns Hope Center, a founding member of the statewide Lift the Ban coalition, which includes the Pilsen Alliance and the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization. “Heavily burdened renters are the ones being evicted, and rent increases are one inevitable result.”

In April 2021, Thinkinc. worked with Lift the Ban and Illinois legislators Rep. Will Guzzardi, state Rep. Lakesia Collins and Rep. Delia Ramirez to organize a large Chicago news conference announcing Guzzardi’s alternative to the state’s rent-control ban.

Guzzardi amended his bill to allow local referendums on rent-control measures, and coverage of the news conference went statewide.

“Rent control is a tool used in dozens of cities to control gentrification and displacement by limiting how much can increase from one year to the next to guard against landlords raising the rent exorbitantly without much notice to the tenant,” Wilson said. “This amendment says let the voters decide. It gives them a democratic way to affect housing policy.” See coverage of the issue at WGN-TV.