Introduction to the state Freedom of Information (FOIA)
Under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act (5 ILCS 140), records in possession of public agencies may be accessed by the public upon written request.
The Housing Authority (HA) must respond to a FOIA request within five (5) business days after the HA receives the request. Day one (1) of the five (5)-day timeline is the first business day after the request is received. If additional time is needed, the HA must notify the requestor in writing within five (5) business days after the receipt of the request. The statutory reasons for the extension and when the requested information will be produced shall be stated in the
What Records may be requested?
Pursuant to 5 ILCS 140, Section 2 (c), a public record is any records, reports, forms, writings, letters, memoranda, books, papers, maps, photographs, cards, tapes, recordings, electronic data processing records, electronic communication, recorded information and all other documentary materials pertaining to the transaction of public business, regardless of physical form or characteristics, having been prepared by or for, or having been or being used, received, in possession of or under the control of any public body.
Some records are, however, not available for disclosure via the FOIA process; these types of records are described under Section 7 of FOIA, specifically 5 ILCS 140, Section 7 (1) (a) through (y) and Section 7.5 (Statutory Exemptions). Some FOIA disclosures may also be restricted by confidentiality provisions imposed by other state and federal statutes. The FOIA process does not supersede applicable statutory or judicial mandates concerning confidentiality, proprietary business/trade matters, a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy matters, etc. This act is not intended to be used to violate individual privacy, nor for the purpose of furthering a commercial enterprise, or to disrupt the duly-undertaken work of any public body independent of the fulfillment of any of the rights of the people to access to information (5 ILCS 140/1). Unless information falls within an express statutory exemption, it must be disclosed under FOIA (5 ILCS 140/3).
The following records are immediately available to the public on the Housing Authority’s website (FOIA request not required):
• Meeting Agendas (2015-current calendar year)
• Board Meeting Minutes (2015-current calendar year)
• Audited Financials (past five years)
• PHAS (Public Housing Assessment System) Scores
• Annual Plan
• Capital Plan
• Admissions & Continued Occupancy (ACOP) Policy and HCV Administrative Plan
• Numerous Public Housing, Housing Choice Voucher and Housing Authority Policies (Found under Resources / Policies)
Denial of a FOIA Request
A person whose request to inspect or copy a public record is denied by a public body may file a request for review with the Public Access Counselor established in the Illinois Office of the Attorney General not later than 60 days after the date of the final denial. The request for review must be in writing, signed by the requester, and include (i) a copy of the request for access to records and (ii) any responses from the public body. (5 ILCS 140/9.5)
The Attorney General appointed Sarah Pratt to the position of Public Access Counselor. Her contact information is:
Public Access Counselor
Office of the Attorney General
500 S. 2nd Street
Springfield, Illinois 62701
Fax: (217) 782-1396
FOIA Requests may be denied for the following reasons (5 ILCS 140/7):
Click Here to read a list of why your FOIA request may be denied.
Additional information regarding FOIA can be found at the Illinois Attorney General’s website.