Council, residents ask for more communication on the accommodation offered in Silvis

SILVIS, Ill. (KWQC) – The Silvis Economic Development Committee held a meeting for an affordable housing construction project Tuesday afternoon.

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

The housing authority received around $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 in one place.

“Wouldn’t you rather they were connected to services that will make their lives more stable and help them be more successful?” said Clark. “Because if they do better, the whole community does better.”

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

Silvis resident Nick Carlson said that because of these letters, he was concerned about who the development was targeting. He is also concerned about the proposed location near Fifth Street of Bowlesburg Elementary School.

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

Clark said she understands residents’ concerns, but those items are part of the grant application process.

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

Residents and the city council have shared their concerns that the community has not been told enough information.

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

“It’s all planned and it offended me,” Hall said. “For me, it makes sense to talk to the community first. I mean that’s how we’ve always done it.

Carlson also said the housing authority has not been transparent.

“If you’re honest with yourself and honest with the public and the community,” Carlson said. “[If] you really want to fit in with the community, information is never a bad thing.

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

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

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