Just Housing Amendment Definitions

Below are definitions of the terms that are used throughout the educational materials provided by the Commission on Human Rights to explain the Just Housing Amendment to the Human Rights Ordinance.

Business day means any day except any Saturday, Sunday, or any day which is a federal or State of Illinois legal holiday. 

Conviction is a judgment of liability entered upon a plea, verdict or finding of guilt for an offense, rendered by a legally constituted jury, court, or administrative authority of competent jurisdiction. 

Covered criminal history refers to information regarding an individual’s arrest, charge or citation for an offense; participation in a diversion or deferral of judgment program; record of an offense that has been sealed, expunged, or pardoned in accordance with applicable law; juvenile record; and conviction. 

Criminal background check as referenced in § 42-38(e)(2)(a), includes any report containing information about an individual’s criminal background, including but not limited to those produced by federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, federal and state courts or consumer reporting agencies.

Demonstrable risk as referenced in § 42-38(c)(5)(c), refers to the likelihood of harm to other residents’ personal safety and/or likelihood of serious damage to property. When the applicant is a person with a disability, “demonstrable risk” must be based on (a) objective evidence and (b) a conclusion that any purported risk cannot be reduced or eliminated by a reasonable accommodation.

Evidence of rehabilitation means any information produced by the individual, or produced on their behalf, with respect to their rehabilitation or good conduct, including but not limited to:  the individual’s satisfactory compliance with all terms and conditions of his or her sentence; court-issued certificates of good conduct; employer recommendations; educational attainment or vocational or professional training since the conviction; completion or active participation in rehabilitative treatment; and letters of recommendation from community organizations, counselors or case managers, teachers, community leaders, religious institutions or leaders, or parole/probation officers who have observed the individual since their conviction.  

Individualized Assessment as referenced in § 42-38(a) means a process by which a person considers all factors relevant to an individual’s conviction history from the previous three (3) years. An individualized assessment is not required for convictions that are more than three (3) years old. Factors that may be considered in performing the individualized assessment include, but are not limited to:

  1. The nature and severity of the criminal offense and how recently it occurred;
  2. The nature of the sentencing;
  3. The number of the applicant’s criminal convictions;
  4. The length of time that has passed since the applicant’s most recent conviction;
  5. The age of the individual at the time the criminal offense occurred;
  6. Evidence of rehabilitation;
  7. The individual history as a tenant before and/or after the conviction;
  8. Whether the criminal conviction(s) was related to or a product of the applicant’s disability; and
  9. If the applicant is a person with a disability, whether any reasonable accommodation could be provided to ameliorate any purported demonstrable risk.

Juvenile record means juvenile court records, as defined in 705 ILCS 405/1-3(8.1) or comparable state law, and juvenile law enforcement records, as defined in 705 ILCS 405/1-3(3.2) or comparable state law.

Offense means a violation of any penal statute, ordinance, law, or code of any jurisdiction.

Relevance as referenced in § 42-38(e)(2), refers to the degree to which an individual’s conviction history makes it likely that the applicant poses a demonstrable risk to the personal safety and/or property of others.

Tenant selection criteria as referenced in § 42-38(e)(2)(a), means the criteria, standards and/or policies used to evaluate whether an applicant qualifies for admission to occupancy or continued residency. The criteria, standards and/or policies concerning the applicant’s conviction history from the previous three (3) years shall apply only after a housing applicant has been pre-qualified. The criteria must explain how applicants’ criminal conviction history from the previous three (3) years will be evaluated to determine whether their conviction history poses a demonstrable risk to personal safety or property.