Housing vouchers continue to stir debate in Naperville
Naperville Councilman Paul Hinterlong says the numbers don't lie.
With Naperville accounting for 18 percent of the Section 8 vouchers now being used in DuPage County, the veteran lawmaker says there can be little doubt about the city's devotion to diversity.
But Hinterlong also maintains that local property owners should be free to rent to whomever they choose, not be forced to enter a government program that requires them to consider federal vouchers the same as income.
“For me, the issue remains, how do you justify stripping a property owner of all their rights,” Hinterlong told the DuPage Policy Journal. “Something about that just doesn’t seem right.”
By a 5-4 vote last fall, the Naperville City Council approved an ordinance that prohibits landlords from disqualifying Housing Choice Voucher holders solely based on their Section 8 status.
Joining Hinterlong in voting against the measure were Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico and council members Kevin Coyne and Patty Gustin.
Even with the ordinance passed and officially on the books, Hinterlong says he still can’t comprehend the rationale.
“I don’t see how this could be about diversity when our voucher numbers are already better than any other surrounding area,” he said.
Coyne said the notion that diversity was the main issue is questionable seeing how he’s been led to believe that most of Naperville’s Section 8 residents are white.
That aside, all of the dissenting council members say their main problem is with of property owners not being afforded the same rights as everyone else.
“The homeowners bought the property, and now they should have the right to decide how to use it,” Gustin said. “They shouldn’t be required to participate in a government program if they don’t want to. Property rights should be viewed with the same level of respect as religious and voting rights.”
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400 S. Eagle St.
Naperville, IL 60540