To the editors:

I would like to thank Ben Joravsky for his November 15 Neighborhood News article on the Chicago Commission on Human Relations and discrimination against families with children. The Metropolitan Tenants Organization and the Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing have recently started a joint project to assist families who have suffered housing discrimination.

Enforcement of fair housing laws happens only when victims of discrimination are able to initiate a complaint. If the victims’ only forum for filing a complaint was in court, enforcement of fair housing laws would be practically nonexistent. The Chicago Commission on Human Relations provides an invaluable resource in the battle against discrimination. To cut the Commission’s budget would bring to a halt the already slow progress we are making towards integration and an end to discrimination.

When one takes into account how commonplace Ms. McClinton’s situation is, the worth of the Commission becomes even more apparent. In a study we undertook in Chicago we were able to document that landlords and their agents discriminate against families with children 58 percent of the time. The rate of occurrence of discrimination increases as the family size increases.

When a landlord treats people differently in a housing situation just because they have children, that landlord is basing the differential treatment on bigoted stereotypes and is also breaking the law. If you have been the victim of such discrimination, we provide free legal assistance at 274-1111.

Julia Goode

Metropolitan Tenants Organization