Naperville councilwoman stands by anti-voucher position
Naperville property owners shouldn't have to open their doors to anyone they don't want to, Councilwoman Patty Gustin told the DuPage Policy Journal recently.
Gustin comments came regarding a measure passed 5-4 last fall requiring area landlords to accept federal housing vouchers as income when renting their properties. Mayor Steve Chirico and fellow council members Kevin Coyne and Paul Hinterlong had joined Gustin in opposing the measure.
“Property rights of homeowners should take precedence over everything else,” Gustin said. “The homeowners bought the property, and now they should have the right to decide how to use it. 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.”
Gustin also said that of the approximately 2,700 Section 8 vouchers being used in DuPage County, 18 percent are by residents in Naperville – the highest acceptance rate of any community.
“It’s a solution in search of a problem that isn’t there, at least not in the Naperville area,” she said.
Coyne said the notion that accepting the vouchers as a way to accept people of all races, social standing and so forth is nice but not necessarily true.
“There’s the perception that this program and this ordinance are all diversity geared, but from what I’m being told a large number of the voucher recipients here in Naperville are white citizens,” he said.
That led Gustin to suspect the push for the ordinance probably had more to do with politics than anything else.
“One of the large church organizations here was pushing it, and then the Fair Housing Board got involved to bring more attention to the issue,” she said. “I think they’re all good people, but maybe they don’t understand all the dynamics involved, especially when it comes to real estate.”