INCREASED WAITING LISTS FOR PUBLIC HOUSING
A new report by the Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights of Chicago says that the demand for public housing in Illinois is much greater than the supply. Therefore, housing authorities throughout the state are dealing with increased waiting lists for government housing. According to the report over 63,000 families currently live in government housing in Illinois, with more than 65,000 on waiting lists. Locally, Cathy Eller with the Public Housing Authority in Bond County says they have 53 families on their waiting list, which could mean a six-month to one-year wait for most people. The current housing in Bond County consists of 48 family units with one to four bedrooms and 108 one-bedroom units for seniors and disabled individuals.
Eller said that the size of the waiting list has remained the same for the last few years, however, the numbers are still higher than even ten years ago. The waiting lists are even higher in the larger counties for housing, as most applicants will wait years. A few reasons for the difference between supply and demand in Illinois, according to the report, includes increased rent and decreased funding.
Eller also commented on the need for emergency housing for people who needed a place to live yesterday, but have to be on a list for months. And since all of the funds received by the Public Housing Authority has to go back into low-income units, the idea of emergency housing or shelters is almost impossible.
PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD ON IEPA SEPTIC TANK RULES STILL OPEN
The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency is proposing a rule that would require inspections on surface-runoff septic systems in Illinois. The agency cites the federal Clean Water Act as giving them the authority to implement the new rules without a legislative vote. WGEL spoke with Tom Melvin from the Bond County Health Department about the proposal who said it would affect the sewage disposal systems that treat waste for individual homes where the treated waster water is allowed to travel to the surface. This includes septic tanks followed by sand filters and the aerobic treatment units. Homeowners would be required to have the system serviced twice a year on a schedule determined by the IEPA. Melvin says he expects that cost to be somewhere between $300 to $500 per year for the homeowner.
Residents wishing to comment on the IEPA proposed rule change have until February 13 to do so, according to Senator Frank Watson, who believes that these rule changes are far more stringent than what other states, in compliance with the act, are doing. If you wish to comment on the proposed rule change, written statements should be sent to Hearing Officer Thomas Andryk, #21 IEPA 1021 North Grand Avenue East, P.O. Box 19276, Springfield, IL 62794 or at Thomas.Andryk@Illinois.gov.
DO IT YOURSELF CLASSES AT HABITAT HOUSE
As the fourth Habitat for Humanity House gets underway in Bond County, on-site classes will be offered in regards to the construction of a home. Roger Marcoot told WGEL that as they progress through this fourth house in Bond County, they will be offering training classes for basic skills. Pat Harris, the on-site construction manager, will be leading the classes.
The first class will be February 10 on basic electrical wiring. The class size is limited to 15 people with a minimum donation of $30 that will go back into funding for the house. Marcoot also said that they will be offering other classes as they get further along with the house. Topics to be covered include how to lay tile, vinyl siding work and drywall repair.
Marcoot commented that Habitat for Humanity thanks the community for their support in this project. For more information or to sign up for a class, call Pat Harris at 664-9205.