Housing Authority hopes ‘Moving to Work’ increases affordable housing options

By Robert Holly/For CU-CitizenAccess

The Housing Authority of Champaign County recently joined the Moving to Work program in an effort to increase jobs and education for those receiving federal assistance. The federal program gives local housing authorities wider flexibility in how to use the millions of dollars they receive from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). It also requires residents to seek employment or education if they want to continue receiving assistance. The Housing Authority hopes the program will allow it to reverse the county’s growing problems which range from condemned households to a shortage of affordable housing. Currently, the authority provides about 1,500 vouchers to low-income households that can use the vouchers for subsidizing their rent.

Weekly Roundup: Raising the minimum wage

By Staff/CU-CitizenAccess.org

President Obama called for an increase in the minimum wage in his State of the Union address. He proposed raising the current federal minimum hourly pay rate, currently at $7.25, to $9.00. This chart by the Department of Labor shows the minimum wage rates by state. Illinois already has one of the highest minimum wages at $8.25. In his State of the State address on February 6, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn called for raising the state’s minimum wage to $10 over the next four years.

Successful business strategies revealed

By Britney Clapp / For CU-CitizenAccess.org — Since 2008, the U.S. economy has taken a downfall, and many businesses have been forced to close. Fortunately, businesses in Champaign County have not been as permanently damaged. “While the Champaign County has suffered since 2007, we were not hurt as much as most of the state and nation,” Cameron Moore, the chief executive officer of Champaign County Regional Planning Commission, said.  “We seem to be recovering faster than many areas and currently most economic indicators are trending up.”

Champaign County has a diverse economy, and overall, its general economic make up has not changed much since 2007 with many jobs coming from agriculture, health care and government. “(We rely on those and) our position as regional commerce center to provide most of the energy for our local economy,” Moore said. Characteristics of successful businesses

“Successful business owners can both lead the organization and delegate responsibility,” David Sinow, a finance professor at the University of Illinois, said.

Increase in the Latino population draws more business to Rantoul

By Jeff Kelly Lowenstein/Hoy —  Rantoul is a town with a proud military heritage. You see it on the name “Veterans Parkway” and the series of red, white and blue rectangular  banners that line the side of the street on telephone poles along Route 136. Here is a tribute to Pfc. Jesse Kessler.  There is a flag honoring Sgt. Jason M. Berry.

Latitude News: As jobs go overseas, foreign jobs come here – just not enough

Jobs, jobs, jobs. That’s been the national mantra since the Great Recession hit in 2008, and it does not seem to be going anywhere. In our perpetual quest to illuminate U.S. connections with the world, Latitude News hit the streets of Danville, Illinois this week to ask people about the global economy. Danville’s large local employers include a VA hospital, a Quaker Foods factory and an airplane parts maker, but folks in Danville said local job prospects were dismal. Read full story here.