Waitlist extends as Champaign County housing authority faces resource shortage

5,210 individuals are on the waitlist for all properties and programs that the Housing Authority of Champaign County supports, according to the authority’s 2020 Fact Sheet.

The annual budget from the federal government is about $23 million. According to the housing authority, they’re in the process of developing over $100 million in new units inside and outside Champaign County.

Citizens Utility Board issues scam warning

The Illinois Citizens Utility Board has warned of several scams that take advantage of utility consumers. Among the scams the board noted in a June 30 email to consumers was a maintenance plan, where water companies offer a protection plan to people that is often expensive and frequently goes unused.

The board was created by state law in 1984 to advocate for Illinoisans in dealing with utility companies, and its website said it has saved the state’s residents $20 billion by stopping rate increases. The group is not affiliated with a political party, but was created by an Illinois law.

‘Move to Work’ program attributed to higher average household incomes in Champaign County

The national average income per household receiving assistance from a housing authority is approximately $12,000 a year, but in Champaign County the average income per household is $17,500.

David Northern, Chief Executive Officer of the Housing Authority of Champaign County, attributes the higher income to a work program started in 2011.

Small budget, big impact: Champaign weatherization program reaches more homes

With a budget of $600,000 the Champaign County Regional Planning Commission Weatherization program often can be overlooked. However, it helps many low-income families save money and get access to basic housing needs.

According to the CCRPC 2018 annual report, the average material cost per home was $7,471. 39 homes received these services in 2018, an increase of 16 homes from the previous year. Champaign County Regional Planning Commission’s Michael Hunter said he would like to see it increased, with more houses applying and obtaining services.

Funds to improve quality of life for Champaign-Urbana residents insufficient

Communities eligible for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding in the City of Urbana has increased, meaning the money available cannot meet the growing needs, according to a CDBG Coalition report published early this year.

Urbana is one of many cities in the nation that are part of the long-standing CDBG program, administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The local program is monitored by the Grants Management Division.

Current housing voucher program leaves applicants waiting

At the Housing Authority of Champaign County, the first thing an applicant for housing must learn is to wait, especially when it comes to the Housing Choice Voucher program. In fact, more than 6,000 people applied last year to the housing authority just to get on the waiting list for the vouchers, which are used to pay rent to private landlords who qualify for the program. Currently, the housing authority has 1,798 vouchers to distribute among Champaign County. Additionally, 22 vouchers are reserved for veterans, according to housing authority documents. All are currently being used.

Despite influx of funds, vacant housing increases in county

CHAMPAIGN-URBANA: Since the housing market crashed in 2007, the cities of Champaign and Urbana have received more than $2 million in state and federal dollars to combat vacant and nuisance housing. Yet the number of empty houses is still climbing. As of 2014, one in every 10 housing units in Champaign County sat vacant, according to the most recent U.S. census data available. That total number, 8,700, was nearly double the number of vacant housing units in the year 2000. Each year, Champaign puts at least $20,000 into demolishing homes across the city.

Champaign targets certain neighborhoods for demolition

These houses make up about 5 percent of vacant houses citywide, but represent the worst of the worst, officials said. Those are houses with repeated code violations, safety issues or are home to criminal activity. The monitored homes are largely located in more troubled neighborhoods because city staff closely monitors those areas.

Co-ops, retirement villages benefit from homeowners exemptions

Landlords of single properties are not the only ones getting tax breaks under the General Homestead Exemption.

Companies that own cooperative apartments or retirement life-care communities also can get multiple exemptions under state law.