No room for the poor, so long Section 8

On Oct. 16 the Champaign City Council voted to delete language from the Human Rights Ordinance on Section 8 stating vouchers must be considered as a form of income. The argument being that paper work involved for landlords is time consuming and complicated. Why is time consumption an issue when it comes to helping the less fortunate? This city is taking away protection under the law for those who need it most. Council members argue that mandating Section 8 is unnecessary, that landlords out of the goodness of their hearts will concede to help those on financial assistance. I’m here to tell you as someone who used to be on Section 8, this belief is quite presumptuous. In the summer of 1997 my mother was one of the many single mothers using Section 8. Take it from me, even with assistance she worked a great deal. When the apartments in our buildings were renovated, the powers that be decided they wanted tenants with higher incomes. Consequently, everyone on Section 8, including us, was thrown out on the street. I spent three months living in hotels throughout Decatur before finally settling in Champaign, so no one can tell me that discrimination toward those on financial assistance doesn’t exist. Discrimination exists, especially with properties throughout the city being renovated and newer complexes being built. The city is getting richer, but suffer no illusions, 20 percent of Champaign’s population makes below poverty level income; that’s less than $16,000 a year. Rent in Champaign is around $475 a month! This ruling bridges a further gap between rich and poor. Will the government have to group those on Section 8 together in subsidized housing projects? I don’t know, but I do know that the Council has in effect, created more problems than it has solved.