Chicago Housing Authority considers tenant drug tests

May 27, 2011

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The Chicago Housing Authority is considering requiring all tenants take drug tests.

To get in and stay in public housing, CHA is mulling whether drug tests should be given to residents.

Currently, tenants in mixed-income properties must take drug tests.

But another potential change has housing advocates worried. CHA wants to remove the so-called “innocent tenant defense” from the lease.

That means residents could get evicted even if they didn’t know their household member or guest was engaged in criminal activity.

Elizabeth Rosenthal is with the Legal Assistance Foundation.

"While we fully support CHA’s efforts to reduce crime in public housing, they’re casting too wide a net. Innocent families who had no connection to a crime or no reason to know that a crime would a happen are losing the only decent housing that they can afford," Rosenthal said.

CHA officials said they are trying to make public housing communities safer.