The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

September 27, 2013

Groups work to help homeless

Plan adds program preference

BY JENNIFER BAILEY jbailey@dancomnews.com
The Commercial-News

---- — DANVILLE — Helping to house more homeless women and children is the goal for the Danville Housing Authority working with Crosspoint at the Y.

A change in DHA’s Section 8 housing choice voucher administrative plan adds a homeless preference to allow for a referral program for homeless individuals.

Crosspoint at the Y, formerly the YFRC, received a grant to assist homeless individuals receiving services at its shelter to transition into a home. This preference will only be awarded if the applicant is being referred by a partner agency.

Hilleary said this fits into one of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s objectives to end homelessness. Working together, with a referral, can expedite housing for some people, Hilleary said.

“It will work similar to the (Veterans Affairs Illiana Health Care System) and (Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing) vouchers,” Hilleary said about housing for homeless veterans.

A second change to the DHA’s Section 8 housing choice voucher program administrative plan adds a working, elderly/disabled preference. This will allow families with some source of income to be more likely to be housed and remain housed.

Many elderly/disabled individuals are unable to work and this would prevent any discrimination, according to Hilleary.

Also this week, Hilleary gave an update to board members about regular meetings between the city and DHA officials regarding affordable housing in the city.

Officials still are trying to identify the best location with the best amenities, utilities, etc. for mixed income housing. The housing would help replace and cut down on the density of the outdated public housing buildings in Fair Oaks. The goal is also to reduce crime.

DHA and city officials are working together to look at rebuilding public housing, possibly with mixed-income sites.

The DHA has to re-house any displaced residents, such as eight families with one Fair Oaks building, with another housing option or Section 8 voucher.

A HUD program, Rental Assistance Demonstration, is a way to convert public housing to project-based Section 8 housing.

Hilleary said there may be a way to utilize the RAD program to build new housing. Local officials are taking their time, to be careful to make this a long-term, successful project.

In continuing to address safety issues, DHA officials also continue to look at the cost of security cameras around Fair Oaks, and the housing authority is adding some lighting on the east side of the property along the far buildings closest to Moore Street.