What does economic and racial equity look like in Chicago? What if the city’s poorest and most vulnerable residents were not saddled with debt to the city, and had the same pathways to financial stability and economic advancement as other Chicago residents?
Stakeholders from academia, philanthropy and community activism answered those questions at a recent discussion hosted by the University’s Office of Civic Engagement and the City Club of Chicago. The event, the second in a series, was inspired by a task force convened by the Chicago City Clerk’s Office charged with exploring disparities in ticketing and debt-collection practices affecting Chicago’s lower-income and predominantly minority communities.
The School of Social Service Administration led a collaborative partnership on behalf of the University to advise and support the Chicago Fines, Fees, & Access Collaborative, which was convened in December 2018. SSA supported the research, data collection and analysis, and policy recommendations that went into the report. SSA and Loyola University Chicago students participated in public forums sponsored by the City Clerk’s office, gathering and analyzing residents’ feedback. Faculty and students from SSA, the Harris School of Public Policy and the Booth School of Business also provided advice and research, including an analysis of the city’s parking- and red-light ticket data, and policy recommendations on how best to restructure city sticker payments.
During the event SSA revealed an initial set of 14 policy reforms and proposals for more equitable fee structures designed to benefit Chicagoans most adversely impacted by the current system.