▶️ Listen Now: Illinois needs more rental homes, summer music festivals, cannabis competition – WBEZ Chicago


Erin Allen: Good Morning it’s Tuesday, and it’s World Poetry Day. I’m Erin Allen, and this is The Rundown. There’s a new report out from two housing entities in Illinois: the National Low Income Housing Coalition and Housing Action Illinois. They found that the state needs about 300 thousand additional rental homes. And this would be for people making 30% of their area’s median family income or less. Bob Palmer is with Housing Action Illinois. He says, even for the families that have a place to live, three-quarters of them are spending more than half of their income on rent.

Bob Palmer: They don’t have much money left over for the other necessities of life like food transportation and it means that they’re at risk of homelessness if they were to have a significant rent increase or a loss of income.

Erin Allen: The report shows there are only 34 affordable and available rental homes for every 100 extremely low-income households in Illinois that need them.

Also in Illinois, there are more than 230 thousand people living with Alzheimer’s. And the caregivers are struggling. My colleague Areceli Gomez Aldana looked into the latest annual report from the Alzheimer’s Association. She says caregivers are at higher risk of emotional stress, depression and other health problems. Delia Jervier is with the Alzheimer’s Association. And she says there are 300 thousand family caregivers across the state.

Delia Jervier: They suffer more than other caregivers of other ailments or other disabilities. And that number is at least 40% More. So there’s an enormous amount of burden on a caregiver or taking care of a person with Alzheimer’s.

Erin Allen: According to the report, Black and brown communities suffer disproportionately from Alzheimer’s.

In case you haven’t heard, folks in the state of Missouri just started selling legal recreational cannabis last month. And already, they’re giving Illinois a run for its money. The Chicago Tribune is reporting that they might have already surpassed Illinois in sales, but they’re most definitely cutting into our out-of-state figures. Some cannabis customers say they prefer getting it in Missouri, because unlike Illinois, you can get home delivery, you can go to drive-through windows, and get deli style service, which allows customers to see and smell the product before they buy it.

The Trib is attributing all this to a difference in the way recreational cannabis was legalized in each state. In Missouri, voters approved legalizing, that was in November last year, by referendum. In Illinois on the other hand, lawmakers wrote a law, which is much more restrictive. So now, even though their population is half of ours in Illinois, Missouri has nearly twice as many licensed marijuana stores.

Illinois Democratic State Representative Will Guzzardi has proposed a bipartisan measure regarding fentanyl. It would allow pharmacies, clinics and other approved organizations to distribute testing kits that indicate whether substances are laced with fentanyl. And my colleague Alex Degman is reporting that the measure is making its way through the Illinois legislature. It passed the House unanimously last week with House Republican leader Tony McCombie’s support, even though she has a similar fentanyl test strip bill. Guzzardi says he wants to hear hers.

Will Guzzardi: Our bill is sort of an incremental measure to allow folks to dispense them, and the leader’s bill will make them fully legal. So I look forward to that bill’s presentation and passage, for now this is one further step in getting these test strips into the hands of people who need them.”

Erin Allen: The latest measure now heads to the Senate. 

And now for a few quick hits. More endorsements coming in for the mayor’s race. The Latino Leadership Council, an organization of civic, business and elected leaders, they just backed Paul Vallas. Meanwhile, Brandon Johnson just accepted the endorsement of Polish community leaders and elected officials. And I don’t know about you, but I’m geeked for all these summer festivals. Pitchfork dropped its schedule yesterday for July, it’ll be in Union Park. Some of the headliners are The Smile, Big Thief, and Bon Iver. And the Lollapalooza lineup will be announced today at 10am. And yesterday, Justin told you about some delays for the next three years on the Kennedy Express Way, and now some similar news on Lake Shore Drive. Starting this week, the North and southbound lanes will be reduced to one lane each at 57th Drive, according to the Chicago Department of Transportation. The lanes will be closed for about two months because of road work ahead of the Obama Presidential Center’s opening.

And the weather today overcast but warmer high, around 50 degrees and a low of 40. There’s a chance of showers also this evening and that’s it for the rundown today. Thank you for listening. I’m Erin Allen. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.

WBEZ transcripts are generated by an automatic speech recognition service. We do our best to edit for misspellings and typos, but mistakes do come through.

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March 21, 2023 at 01:35PM

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