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More people are experiencing homelessness in Peoria area since the end of the eviction moratorium

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Heart of Illinois United Way Home For All Continuum of Care
The Heart of Illinois United Way Home For All Continuum of Care's Point in Time counts from 2009 through the preliminary count for 2022.

Housing insecurity is on the rise in the Peoria area. The end of the COVID-19 eviction moratorium may be to blame.

This year's preliminary annual Point in Time count conducted by the Heart of Illinois United Way Home For All Continuum of Care found 325 people experiencing homelessness. That's up from 201 in the 2021 count; or a more than 50 percent increase.

"I think a large part (is) due to the eviction moratorium, the additional housing resources that were available," said Kate Green, executive director of the Home For All Continuum of Care, in a presentation to the Peoria City Council on Tuesday. "We've seen a lot of those resources cease. And now we've seen our numbers grow. And so we're seeing that number pop up again this year."

That's still down significantly from a high of 451 people in 2015.

"We have actually seen a trend downward over time, over the course of the past decade," Green said. "That's a very positive thing for us. We're moving in the right direction."

Green said her organization last year served more than 1,800 unique clients from more than 1,300 households in its four-county coverage area of Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, and Fulton counties.

414 people are currently on the CoC's coordinated entry list, which prioritizes people who are currently without permanent housing. That includes 299 households, and 42 households with children.

The Home For All Continuum of Care coordinates with emergency shelters and connects people with resources, with the ultimate goal of finding them permanent housing, Green said.

Green said a minimum hourly wage of $16.50 was needed to afford a market-rate two-bedroom apartment in Peoria last year. On minimum wage, that same apartment would require a 60-hour work week for the renter.

The CoC works with multiple agencies, including Phoenix Community Development Services. That nonprofit is developing a campus in the 200 block of NE Madison in downtown Peoria aimed at providing housing, workforce development, and other services for the city's population facing homelessness.

Christine Kahl is executive director of PCDS. She provided an update to the council Tuesday on several of her organization's projects, including the $2 million Phoenix Employment First Center, and the proposed 55-unit Phoenix Place in the former Methodist College Building on St. Marks Court.

That space would be converted into permanent supportive housing aimed at ending family homelessness in the greater Peoria region.

"The operating funding for that project is $10.5 million in state and federal rental subsidies over 15 years," said Kahl. "60% of that has already been committed. Supportive service funding will include a state grant and Medicaid reimbursement."

She said PCDS is in the process of putting together a $15 million capital package for that project.

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Tim is the News Director at WCBU Peoria Public Radio.