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Housing

  • Cunningham pushes law to curb squatters

    Sen. Bill CunninghamSPRINGFIELD — Local communities will soon have new protections to stop squatters from legally taking possession of abandoned homes or businesses thanks to a measure signed into law this week.

    The new law, sponsored by State Senator Bill Cunningham, was introduced when a squatter attempted to take control of an abandoned building in Beverly by utilizing a loophole in an obscure housing law.

    "An individual moved into an abandoned storefront on a commercial street and attempted to claim ownership of the property under a law designed to improve dilapidated housing," Cunningham said. "If alert neighbors hadn't called the police, the scheme might have succeeded in civil court."

  • Soon to expire housing tax credit subject of Senate hearing

    HutchinsonCommitteeA state income tax credit that supports the development of affordable housing units will expire at the end of December if it is not renewed by the General Assembly.

    Earlier this week, State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D – Chicago Heights) led a hearing of the Senate Revenue Committee in discussing the importance of the credit and a proposal by State Senator James Clayborne (D – Belleville) that would extend the tax credit for five years.

    “Affordable housing projects are not developed by just one entity,” Hutchinson said. “It takes a combination of businesses, non-profits and government agencies to all come together to make important projects like these a reality.”

  • New law protects victims of domestic violence, people with disabilities, from eviction

    hutchinson loopholesSPRINGFIELD – Victims of domestic violence and individuals with disabilities will not have to worry about losing their homes if they contact authorities for help under a new law signed today by the governor.  

    “The last thing a survivor of a traumatic assault or someone struggling with a disability needs to worry about is being evicted simply for calling the police for help,” sponsor State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D – Chicago Heights) said.  

    Renters who contact authorities for help risk eviction in the more than 100 home-rule cities and villages that have implemented some form of crime-free ordinance. These ordinances are meant to give more control to municipalities in addressing public safety concerns. Many of them have specifically listed triggers that could lead to an eviction, including numerous calls to law enforcement.

    While the intent of crime-free ordinances is to deal with illegal activity, victims of criminal activity can be affected by the rules, especially in the case of domestic violence. Victims of domestic abuse aren’t always able to leave their homes immediately and are sometimes afraid to press charges, making it more likely they will have to contact the police more than once.  

    Individuals with disabilities are also endangered by these ordinances, as someone struggling with a disability might need assistance from authorities more often than someone without a disability.

    “We should not be penalizing renters with eviction simply for making legitimate calls for help,” Hutchinson said. “This new law strikes a balance between the safety needs of victims and the responsibility of municipalities to address public safety in their communities.”

    Senate Bill 1547 was signed today by the governor and becomes law in 90 days.

  • Construction on veterans home stalled amid budget negotiation

    delgado vets homeCHICAGO- State Senator William Delgado (D-Chicago) joined Alderman Villegas on Monday in support of his effort to fund a construction project for a veterans home in Chicago. The project is at a standstill due to a lack of funding.

    “Our veterans deserve and depend on this home as a very important resource,” Delgado said. “If this project falls apart it will prevent them from living a worry-free life, and that is unacceptable.”

    If it’s completed, the home would be capable of housing 200 veterans in private rooms fitted with private bathrooms and would feature a common dining area and recreational facilities. The federal government has committed to supply 65 percent of the required funding, but the governor recently rescinded about $4 million of the remaining state funding needed to complete the project. If the funding is not restored the grants from the federal government may be jeopardized. The scheduled opening date for the facility has already been pushed back about 6 months to January 2017.