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Heated debate continues over proposed Silvis Apoyo Village project

Published: May. 19, 2022 at 10:22 PM CDT
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SILVIS, Illinois (KWQC) - A public meeting on Apoyo Village quickly turned into a heated debate centered around the 24-unit housing complex.

The Greater Metropolitan Area Housing Authority’s goal of the meeting was to “include language in the Annual PHA Plan that proposes making project-based vouchers available to projects that provide supportive services to their clients.”

At the meeting, the Greater Metropolitan Area Housing Authority (GMAHA) of Rock Island County took questions from residents regarding the housing development on Fifth Street near Hy-Vee in Silvis. The housing authority received about $7 million in January to build the development from sources including a grant, loan, and tax credits.

Many residents spoke out at the meeting with concerns over the housing authority’s partnerships with organizations like the Safer Foundation, Youth Services Bureau, and by taking referrals for tenants from the Illinois Department of Corrections re-entry program. The housing authority said registered sex offenders would not be eligible to live at the complex and all residents would undergo a background check. Amy Clark, CEO of GMAHA said the goal is to fill a gap in affordable housing while providing social services all in one location. Clark said she understands residents’ concerns, but these items are part of the process of applying for a grant.

“I don’t know who’s going to be there but I assure you it’s not going to be 24 people from the Department of Corrections. It’s not a halfway house. It’s not everybody from the Department of Corrections coming to Silvis, Illinois,” said Nathan Joseph, with Domera Development, assisting GMAHA, ”By definition, if they are coming out of the department of corrections, having served their time and debt to society, then yeah they are in fact, previously incarcerated persons.”

The proposed housing development would be less than one mile away from Bowlesburg Elementary School in Silvis. Some residents said that is too close to the school and they do not want the project in their neighborhood either. Others are frustrated with the housing authority’s transparency over the project and when they are holding public meetings on the project. They argue the public has not been informed of when the meetings are scheduled and were frustrated Thursday’s meeting was held during normal working hours; excluding many residents.

At Thursday’s meeting, GMAHA said it wants to have another town hall for public comment, but has not set a date. The project would then go to the board of commissioners for approval. One of six board members was at Thursday’s meeting. That person left early during heated conversation on the project.

A petition against the project has over 400 signatures, including some Silvis city officials. Silvis Mayor Matt Carter has previously spoken against the project.

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

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