Dunbar Residents Given 90 Days to Vacate Homes

On September 2, 2011, residents at Dunbar Courts received certified mail saying they were to vacate their homes in 90 days. They are to be out by December 1 and shortly after demolition of the public housing units will begin.

The Independent Media Center reported in late July of a protest that took place at the Champaign County Housing Authority. It was organized by residents of Dunbar Courts, in the Douglass Park neighborhood, and Dorsey Homes, at Bradley and McKinley. Both Dunbar and Dorsey are slated to be torn down. Residents were asking for greater assistance in moving and more transparency in the process. After the demonstration, they were granted a slight increase. But it appears some are still having trouble finding a new home.

I spoke with Ruby Taylor, a resident at Dunbar, who found an apartment but said it was denied by the Housing Authority. The two-bedroom apartment in Hessel Park was renting for $599, but when Taylor took the information to the Housing Authority, they told her she would not be able to afford utilities with the $667 voucher she was receiving through Section 8 housing. She says there are about eleven others who have not yet been able to relocate.   
 

That Old Council Vote

Remember that vote at the Champaign City Council where City Council "wisely" passed an ordinance to allow landlords the right to refuse Section 8 vouchers (before it was considered discriminatory)? Now we are discovering the result of this policy. I encourage the displaced residents to go to the City Council and remind the council what they have wrought.

Vouchers

The section 8 program requires inspections and has some very complicated requirements.  It's not that we're trying to discriminate, but some of us just don't have the time or money to deal with it. 

Better to rent to somebody who isn't going to nitpick about some peeling paint and older windows. 

Nonsense

My dad is the grouchiest old man when it comes to gov't -- longtime Republican. And he's a very experienced landlord.

Doesn't have an issue with Section 8.

On the other hand, he doesn't like to show rundown properties to anyone. And it's pretty much an all-white clientele where his property is located.

Make of that what you will. There's a strong whiff of racism to those who say the basic right to be treated the same as anyone else in renting is, somehow, controversial or too troublesome.

And it definitely provides plenty of evidence pointing out how Champaign should prohibit discrimination against Section 8 renters, just like Urbana.

That leaving aside that the paltry sum in the voucher is really inadequately small.

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