A photo taken by city of Champaign inspectors at Theta Chi, 310 E. Gregory, Champaign on Sept. 4, 2013.

Despite routine inspections, keeping certified campus housing safe remains constant challenge

By Janelle O’Dea and Robert Holly/CU-CitizenAccess.org — At the Theta Chi fraternity house last fall, Champaign city inspectors found 81 fire and life-safety violations, including holes in bedroom floors and inoperative emergency-exit signs. At the Chi Psi fraternity house, city inspectors cited 76 violations, including a leaky roof and multiple propped-open fire doors. Lookup inspection scores and read reportsAt Phi Sigma Kappa, inspectors discovered 69 violations, specifically citing violations for improperly stored propane tanks and for a fire pit located within 10 feet of bushes outside of the house. Overall, 57 of 61 Greek houses in both Champaign and Urbana had violations during initial fire-safety inspections last fall. Inspectors also examined an additional 15 non-Greek properties, and 14 of them had violations reported during their first inspections.

Regina Ramsey and her family, Shawtel Harris, 18, Makhii Jones, 5 and T'Aire Jones, 8 at 1107 West Hill Street, Urbana, where Habitat will begin construction of their new home in a a few weeks. They were at the site on Wednesday, April 23, 2014. photo by Darrell Hoemann/C-U Citizen Access

Gov’t Watch: City of Urbana program works to fund housing opportunities

Lyanne Alfaro/For CU-CitizenAccess.org — Two more low-income Champaign-Urbana families will soon each have new homes. The new housing is a result of one of the many programs overseen by the City of Urbana Community Development Services. This year, the department reapproved Habitat for Humanity of Champaign County as a Community Housing Development Organization. As a housing development organization, Habitat can use federal funds to build affordable homes for the families. The department approved Habitat for $70,000 last spring.

The Housing Authority of Champaign County's Wait List Application page.

Two housing lists open; most remain closed

By Robert Holly/CU-CitizenAccess.org — The Housing Authority of Champaign County started opening up parts of its public housing waiting list at the beginning of August, and it is now accepting housing applications for elderly one-bedroom apartments and family five-bedroom apartments. But its housing choice voucher waiting list – also known as Section 8 housing – remains closed with no openings in sight. “We don’t have any anticipation on when section 8 will open again,” said Edward Bland, the Housing Authority’s executive director. The vouchers can be used for renting housing from approved landlords. There are about 400 individuals currently on the waiting list for housing choice vouchers.

Oakwood Trace low-income housing in Champaign, Illinois

As housing waiting lists continue to grow, the shortage of affordable housing becomes evident

By Robert Holly/CU-CitizenAccess.org — Thousands of low-income families and individuals across Illinois continue to wait for different forms of affordable housing to be provided by public housing authorities. In all likelihood, many of these people will keep waiting for years to come, as it takes some authorities anywhere from five to 10 years to completely turn over their waiting lists. During their wait, some might salvage a small amount of consolation in knowing they are not alone. Across the country, hundreds of thousands of people also seekiing affordable housing wait with them. In fact, an article published in The New York Times this week reported that there are more than 220,000 individuals and families waiting for public housing assistance in New York City alone.