The Chicago Housing Authority has floated the idea of forcing all current and prospective residents of public housing property over the age of 18 to undergo mandatory drug testing.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported that the measure is among several proposed changes to CHA’s Admissions and Continued Occupancy Policy. Under the measure, any leaseholder who tested positive for illegal drug use would be subjected to eviction proceedings.
There are currently 16,000 families living in family and senior public housing in Chicago.
Advocates of the policy said it could help make the developments safer and provides more tools to fight crime, but civil libertarians blasted the proposal as discriminating against the poor.
“From our perspective, drug testing without suspicion is humiliating,” senior ACLU lawyer Adam Schwartz told the Sun-Times. “It’s stigmatizing. There’s a double standard here. All across our city and our country, when most of us who are in whatever income bracket rent housing, we don’t have to take a drug test. This is an emerging one standard for poor people and another standard for everyone else.”
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