Coalition Joins Forces to Tackle Housing Assistance Needs

McLean County residents struggling financially because of COVID-19 could need up to $2.7 million in housing assistance in just the next three months—and a new community coalition says it’s got a plan to meet that challenge. 

Until now, someone seeking assistance from multiple agencies might have to provide the same information over and over again.

The coalition unveiled a plan Friday to streamline the way people seek help for paying their rent, mortgage, or utilities. They will fill out a single form that multiple agencies will be able to pass between each other to find the right funding source to help. 

“(A uniform application) reduces the stress, the frustration, on families and individuals who are seeking services, who are already stressed about how they’re going to pay their rent or mortgage or utilities,” said Deb Skillrud, City of Bloomington Township supervisor.  

The coalition is not starting from zero. Township governments and other groups, such as Mid Central Community Action, already offer housing or utility assistance.

With existing and expected incoming funding, the coalition estimates that it’s short between 30% and 35% of the expected need, said Adrian Barr, managing attorney with Prairie State Legal Services in Bloomington. Based on the need estimates, that’s at least hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“A significant further public/private partnership is needed to bridge the gap to the required funding to meet this emergency,” the coalition said in a statement Friday.

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