Twin Cities activists want more affordable housing

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) – A group of social activists in Bloomington are calling for more to be done on homelessness.

This comes as evictions again take place on tenants who do not pay their rent.

Tenant evictions in Illinois have doubled in the past month after the moratorium ended last month.

The Twin Cities activist group “Stand Up for Social Justice” now fears the numbers will rise as temperatures begin to drop.

“Evictions are starting to increase. In the past month, evictions have been twice as high as in the same month before the pandemic, ”said chief organizer Julie Prandi.

Prandi said temporary shelters are a good short-term solution, but don’t solve long-term homelessness issues.

“The shelters want to find permanent housing for people and that is the problem, there is not enough permanent housing and there is not enough that is affordable for people,” said Prandi.

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

“You have to require this when the subdivisions receive zoning board approval; and they do it in other cities, they demand that there be so much land set aside, ”Prandi said.

According to Prairie State Legal Services, 127 people face eviction cases in McLean County courts since the moratorium on evictions for unpaid rent ended on October 4. The moratorium was put in place at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic because of its financial impacts on people’s pockets.

“Since then we have seen an increase in the number of cases, as I said, which has doubled from previous years on a monthly average,” said Cecelia Long, community resource coordinator for Prairie Legal Services. “127 is a lot and it is gradually increasing every week. “

Long said the extreme cold in Illinois was likely and hopes to protect as many people as possible.

“We already know that our homeless services are strained during a pandemic and the level at which they see homeless people, so we want to prevent this situation as much as possible,” Long said.

Prairie State Legal Services say that if you are facing an eviction, they can put you in touch with lawyers and help you apply for various assistance programs.

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