SPRINGFIELD, Ill.- State representatives advanced a bill out of the Housing Committee Wednesday to give college students the opportunity to live in affordable housing units.
Republican members questioned if the affordable housing units would actually serve a need in community college districts. They said community college students mostly commute instead of living on campus.
"This is not mandatory," said Representative Nick Smith (D-Chicago). "This is strictly voluntary, so it’s not being forced upon any community college district. It’s their choice whether they want to engage in this or not. I think once we get up and running, and get a couple of these housing developments done, others will see how successful it is."
Rep. Deanne Mazzochi (R-Elmhurst) suggested introducing a pilot program for the housing instead. She said lawmakers could launch the project in select communities rather than the entire state.
However, House Bill 374 passed out of the committee 15-8 without Mazzochi’s suggestion. The legislation now moves to the House floor for second reading.
Housing Development Authority: $1 billion due to landlords
The Illinois Housing Development Authority also told lawmakers how renters, homeowners, and landlords are feeling the financial impacts of COVID-19.
IHDA Executive Director Kristen Faust said renters owe $1 billion in unpaid rent to landlords because of the pandemic. However, she explained the state has the funds to help pay it back.
She emphasized that $225 million came from the Emergency Rental Assistance Program back in 2020. Congress also approved $840 million for landlords in the stimulus bill passed in December.
"Roughly speaking, using some loose math, I think we have a shot at meeting a great percentage of the need," said Faust. "Which means making landlords whole and keeping tenants in place."
The department’s executive director also said the goal is to serve all of Illinois. Although, the housing group aimed a significant amount of its funding to under-represented communities. She feels getting this information out to the state could encourage those struggling to apply for the program.
March 10, 2021 at 10:09PM