Despite routine inspections, keeping certified campus housing safe remains constant challenge

By Janelle O’Dea and Robert Holly/ — At the Theta Chi fraternity house last fall, Champaign city inspectors found 81 fire and life-safety violations, including holes in bedroom floors and inoperative emergency-exit signs. At the Chi Psi fraternity house, city inspectors cited 76 violations, including a leaky roof and multiple propped-open fire doors. Lookup inspection scores and read reportsAt Phi Sigma Kappa, inspectors discovered 69 violations, specifically citing violations for improperly stored propane tanks and for a fire pit located within 10 feet of bushes outside of the house. Overall, 57 of 61 Greek houses in both Champaign and Urbana had violations during initial fire-safety inspections last fall. Inspectors also examined an additional 15 non-Greek properties, and 14 of them had violations reported during their first inspections.

Gov’t Watch: City of Urbana program works to fund housing opportunities

Lyanne Alfaro/For — Two more low-income Champaign-Urbana families will soon each have new homes. The new housing is a result of one of the many programs overseen by the City of Urbana Community Development Services. This year, the department reapproved Habitat for Humanity of Champaign County as a Community Housing Development Organization. As a housing development organization, Habitat can use federal funds to build affordable homes for the families. The department approved Habitat for $70,000 last spring.

Two housing lists open; most remain closed

By Robert Holly/ — The Housing Authority of Champaign County started opening up parts of its public housing waiting list at the beginning of August, and it is now accepting housing applications for elderly one-bedroom apartments and family five-bedroom apartments. But its housing choice voucher waiting list – also known as Section 8 housing – remains closed with no openings in sight. “We don’t have any anticipation on when section 8 will open again,” said Edward Bland, the Housing Authority’s executive director. The vouchers can be used for renting housing from approved landlords. There are about 400 individuals currently on the waiting list for housing choice vouchers.

As housing waiting lists continue to grow, the shortage of affordable housing becomes evident

By Robert Holly/ — Thousands of low-income families and individuals across Illinois continue to wait for different forms of affordable housing to be provided by public housing authorities. In all likelihood, many of these people will keep waiting for years to come, as it takes some authorities anywhere from five to 10 years to completely turn over their waiting lists. During their wait, some might salvage a small amount of consolation in knowing they are not alone. Across the country, hundreds of thousands of people also seekiing affordable housing wait with them. In fact, an article published in The New York Times this week reported that there are more than 220,000 individuals and families waiting for public housing assistance in New York City alone.

Weekly RoundUp: Housing

A report out this week showed that home sales across the nation have reached a five-year high, and the state of Illinois is no exception. According to the Illinois Association of Realtors, home sales increased 14.9 percent over the previous year, with 15,268 homes sold in June 2013, up from 13,286 in June 2012. But the rising mortgage rates are causing some to question whether this trend will continue. Below is a roundup of recent articles about the current state of the housing market and some predictions about the future.  

New home sales hit five-year high, prices soar – Reuters

“New U.S. home sales vaulted to a five-year high in June, showing no signs of slowing in the face of higher mortgage rates.”


Two Years of Illinois Home Sales Gains: Realtors’ Group – Illinois Public Media

“Sales of existing homes in Illinois were up 14.9% in June from previous year levels, and median home prices increased 9.7%  —- according to the Illinois Association of Realtors.