Tenants feel ‘forcibly removed’ from low-cost housing Danville plans to build over


DANVILLE, Ill. (WCIA) – Some people in Danville are afraid they’re about to lose their homes. The city is working to buy up properties for a new project. Tuesday night, the city council approved the sale of a lot at 926 N Gilbert Street. They’re still working to acquire houses nearby.

At the meeting, one man said he’s on a fixed income, and his rent on Gilbert Street is capped at $300 per month. Plus, he’s just not ready to find a new place to live.

“We’re being forcibly removed from low-cost housing that we will not be able to replace," Doug Clark said.

Clark has lived in his Danville duplex for 25 years. But the city wants to buy it.

“I had to find out through a friend of mine sending me a text that says, ‘hey, read the newspaper. You’re about to be homeless,’” Clark said.

City leaders plan to move Kirchner Building Centers – a building material store – from Williams Street to Gilbert Street. But they’ll need to take over some homes to do that, including the one Clark and his neighbor, Carl Abbott, both rent.

“To find a place equivalent to what I have is going to be next to impossible," Abbott said.

Both Abbott and Clark brought their concerns to city council Tuesday night. They feel they’ve been kept in the dark. Mayor Rickey Williams Jr. said the city is still negotiating, and if the sales go through – they’ll start a relocation process with renters.

“If there are tenants or property owners that need to be relocated as a result of any kind of acquisitions we make, we’ve usually been giving them a certain amount per person or a certain amount per family to relocate to help them with that process," Williams said.

He said they’d give each indivudual about $5,000 dollars to relocate – and that there’s plenty of affordable housing options in Danville.

“Especially for the gentleman that’s a veteran. There are all kinds of opportunities, vouchers and other things," Williams said.

Abbott is an 18-year veteran, and he’s concerned for his other neighbors who he says will be displaced too.

“Dialysis, recent stroke, the neighbor on the side of me – single mother," Abbott said.

But the mayor said when it’s all said and done, the Kirchner project will be a "win-win for everyone."

“We have too many homes in our community and this would eliminate some of the additional housing stock," Williams said.

He said it would allow them to complete an infrastructure project on Williams Street.

“Ultimately, it would also get the residents in other good homes in the community. Essentially, it’s solving a problem for many people," Williams said.

After hearing Abbott’s concerns, one alderman offered to meet with him personally the next day. He said the city still doesn’t have a concrete timeline for the project.


via WCIA.com https://www.wcia.com

September 21, 2022 at 12:22AM

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