Council, residents seek more communication over proposed housing in Silvis

Published: Feb. 22, 2022 at 11:23 PM CST
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SILVIS, Ill. (KWQC) - The Economic Development Committee in Silvis held a meeting for a proposed affordable housing building on Tuesday afternoon.

At the meeting, the Greater Metropolitan Area Housing Authority (GMAHA) of Rock Island County took questions from both City Council and residents regarding the Apoyo Village housing development on Fifth Street.

The housing authority received about $7 million in January to build the development from a combination of sources including a grant, loan and tax credits.

Amy Clark, CEO of GMAHA said the goal is to fill a gap in affordable housing while providing social services all in one location.

“Wouldn’t you rather have them connected to services that are going to make their lives more stable and help them be more successful?” Clark said. “Because if they’re more successful, the entire community is more successful.”

The project gained letters of support from the Illinois Department of Correction and Quad Cities Safer Foundation, an organization dedicated to transitioning people with criminal histories back into society.

Silvis Resident Nick Carlson said because of these letters, he’s worried about who the development is targeting. He’s also concerned about the proposed location on fifth street’s proximity to Bowlesburg Elementary School.

“It’s terrifying,” Carlson said. “There is a place and an appropriate way ... to provide those services and an appropriate place to do that. Literally next to an elementary school and neighborhood is probably not that place.”

Clark said she understands residents’ concerns, but these items are part of the process of applying for a grant.

“Whether or not [people with a criminal history] meet the regulatory threshold to actually be eligible is the process we have to go through,” Clark said. “So it’s just explaining to everyone that each individual, regardless of their background, should have an opportunity to at least apply”

Residents and city council alike shared concerns that the community hasn’t been made aware of enough information.

Second Ward Alderwoman Cathy Hall said she was insulted by the lack of communication.

“All this is planned and it offended me,” Hall said. “To me, it’s common sense to talk to the community first. I mean that’s the way we’ve always done it.”

Carlson also said the housing authority hasn’t been transparent.

“If you are being honest with yourself and honest with the public and the community,” Carlson said. “[If] you truly want to integrate into the community, information is never a bad thing.”

No action was taken at Tuesday’s meeting. Both the committee and GMAHA said they are interested in similar meetings in the future.

If Apoyo Village receives full approval, Clark said they hope to break ground sometime in the fall.

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