Opinions & Editorials

Op-Ed: Rent Control as Freedom from Violence

How protections against rising rents can help survivors of violence

ONE Northside member Tommie Lewis testifies at a statewide hearing on rent control in Chicago September 2018. (Vivien Tsou)

Tommie Lewis never imagined she would be homeless. But after a breast cancer diagnosis in her thirties, she lost her entire support network: her house, her marriage, her daughter, her job at USPS, and even her dog. Lewis became homeless during her recovery from cancer treatment, moving from shelter to shelter because each one had a time limit on how long an occupant is allowed to stay. A year later, out of options for shelters where she had not exhausted the time limit, her only housing option was to live with a man she was seeing at the time. He rented her a small room on the South Side of Chicago, but was physically abusive.