A short­age of places to live is one rea­son Gen­er­a­tion Z has grown cool on Chicago

Chicago Sun-Times - - OPINION - Patricia Lam­berti, Edi­tor In Chief, Court Buddy Blog Send let­ters to let­ters@sun­times.com.

There’s a rea­son, be­sides the weather, Gen­er­a­tion Z would rather live in “cool” cities like Austin, New York, Bos­ton or San Fran­cisco.

Chicago, and Illi­nois, just aren’t in tune with their needs, es­pe­cially when it comes to hous­ing.

Con­sider the city’s lack of fore­sight when it comes to an­tic­i­pat­ing what will hap­pen when the fed­eral mora­to­rium on rental evic­tions ends on July 25. This or­der, which says land­lords with fed­er­ally backed loans can’t evict ten­ants, cov­ered about 70% of rentals in the coun­try. State bans, like the one we have in Illi­nois that is set to ex­pire July 31, likely have pro­tected the other 30%.

Of course, some ten­ants are still pay­ing their rent. But many can’t. Ac­cord­ing to Apart­ment List, 32% of peo­ple missed their July pay­ments (both rent and mort­gages).

Most ex­perts, our­selves in­cluded, pre­dict there will be an avalanche of evic­tion law­suits when these mora­to­ri­ums ex­pire. Many may­ors in pro­gres­sive cities, like Bos­ton, Philadel­phia, Den­ver and Los An­ge­les, have pro­tected their res­i­dents by is­su­ing city-wide evic­tion mora­to­ri­ums. Bos­ton’s mayor signed an or­der last week that halts evic­tions un­til the year’s end.

We call on Mayor Light­foot to is­sue a city­wide evic­tion mora­to­rium for Chicago.

We also call on the city to pro­vide more sup­port to ten­ant re­lief or­ga­ni­za­tions. One study found that 90% of land­lords have a lawyer, while only 10% of ten­ants do. When ten­ants have le­gal help, they win 75% to 90% of evic­tion dis­putes.

What­ever law­mak­ers de­cide to do, we hope renters in Chicago find af­ford­able le­gal ser­vices to help them with land­lord dis­putes. Hav­ing a lawyer in your phone’s con­tact list is just as im­por­tant as hav­ing a doc­tor to call when you are sick. Eventually, you’ll need one.

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