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Peoria Emergency Rehousing Program Offers Model For Other Communities

Cass Herrington
Peoria Public Radio

Speakers at a Housing Action Illinois conference in Bloomington say a partnership between the City of Peoria and the Salvation Army is one example of how communities can work to rehouse residents.Thomas Fulop, Salvation Army Tri-County Social Services Director, says while one of the organization’s main operations is its homeless shelters, the emergency housing program allows them to skip that step by helping people before they become homeless.  He said when the city issues an occupancy prohibited order, staff refer tenants to the Salvation Army, which then deploys its resources to rehouse them as quickly as possible -- typically a few days. Since its inception last year the program has overseen 5 successful rehousing cases, at an average cost of $2,500 per case. 

Assistant Community Development Director Joe Dulin says the code enforcement process can sometimes create homelessness, at no fault of the tenant.Dulin said the city uses the criminal housing management fines collected from landlords to sustain the program. The program was introduced after code violations forced the emergency closure of the 1505 On the Avenue high-rise apartment complex in 2017. That building has since been converted into luxury apartments aimed at people in the medical field. 

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Breanna Grow is a correspondent for GLT. She joined the station in September 2018.