University makes cuts to student services at off-campus community living office

At a time when students are struggling with leases, lockdowns, and landlords, the University’s Off-Campus Community Living Office has cut services and made major changes in its office.

Among the cuts have been the elimination of the online service known as the “Housing Explorer,” which allowed students with information on rental properties in the Champaign-Urbana and to complain about landlords who provided poor housing.

University of Illinois COVID-19 complaints and social media reveal how widespread violations were

A review of more than 400 complaints about partying and public health violations, multiple disciplinary actions and partial lockdowns at apartment complexes show the impact of the partying and social gathering was far wider than previously recognized.

While many students obeyed guidelines that included wearing masks and social distancing, a significant number of students held or attended large parties and social gatherings at Greek houses, dorms and apartments.

Public records show that four fraternities and one sorority have been disciplined and more than 1,000 students were disciplined.

Gunfire incidents get closer to home for Holiday Park neighborhood

Residents of the Holiday Park neighborhood in west Champaign have been experiencing an increase in gun incidents, and residents say sounds of gunfire is now a ‘normality’ for this area.

According to Tom Yelich, public information officer at the Champaign Police Department, there have been 174 shooting incidents as of November 23. This number is the highest the city has seen in the last five years.

Small Business Incentive Program relief grants provides ‘much needed’ financial assistance

Forty-eight out of approximately 90 small businesses in Champaign received a total of $520,000 in grants from the Small Business Incentive Program COVID Relief Grants.

The money for these grants came from the Federal CARES Act fund. The city council amended the pre-existing Small Business Incentive Program so that the program could be used to distribute this new funding in an efficient and productive way.

Garden Hills neighborhood faces dark times, literally and figuratively

The city’s multi-decade improvement plan for Garden Hills has increased the community residents’ trepidation as they see general deterioration and an abundance of issues piling up while the city’s improvement efforts appear to have slowed.

“We’re just not a priority, let’s put it that way,” resident Amy Revilla said.

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.

Calculation of COVID-19 positivity rate by university produces lower numbers than state

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s revised calculation of the campus positivity rate of COVID-19 has potentially lowered the rate substantially by reducing the number of reported positive tests.

Epidemiologists say the more accurate way to calculate positivity would be to divide unique positive tests by unique total tests, but that information is not always available.