Twin Cities activists want more affordable housing

Illinois

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — A group of social activists in Bloomington are wanting more to be done when it comes to homelessness.

This comes as evictions are taking place again on renters who aren’t paying their rent.

Renter evictions in Illinois have doubled within the last month after the moratorium preventing them ended last month.

Twin cities’ activist group “Stand up for social justice” now fears the numbers will rise as the temperatures begin to drop.

“Evictions are starting to ramp up. In the past month, evictions were twice as high as they were in the same month before the pandemic,” said chief organizer, Julie Prandi.

Prandi said temporary shelters are a good short-term fix but don’t solve the issues of homelessness long-term.

“Shelters want to find permanent housing for people and that’s the problem, there isn’t enough permanent housing and there isn’t enough that’s affordable for people,” Prandi said.

The group held signs Tuesday, asking city, town, and county leaders to use federal funds and grants to build more affordable housing.

“You have to require that when housing developments are given the OK by the zoning board; and they do this in other cities, they require there be so much land set aside,” Prandi said.

According to Prairie State Legal Services, 127 people are facing an eviction case in the McLean County courts since the moratorium on evictions due to unpaid rent ended on October 4th. The moratorium was put in place at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic due to its financial impacts on people’s pockets.

“Since then, we have seen an increase in cases, like I said doubled from previous years on a monthly average,” said Cecelia Long, community resources coordinator for Prairie Legal Services. “127 is quite a lot and that’s going up gradually every week.”

Long said being Illinois extreme cold is likely and hopes to keep as many people safe from it as possible.

“We already know our homeless Services are strained during a pandemic and the level they’re seeing homeless people so we want to prevent that situation as much as possible,” Long said.

Prairie state legal services says if you’re facing eviction they can connect you with attorneys and help you apply for various aid programs.

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