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ACLU Peoria Chapter praises Peoria Housing Authority for addressing issues at Taft Homes

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The Peoria Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois this week congratulated the Peoria Housing Authority for publicly acknowledging steps they are taking to address concerns of residents at Taft Homes.

Residents of the property expressed alarm after a series of security measures were implemented at the facility last July 4th. A private security company suddenly blocked the entrances to Taft Homes, causing inconvenience and confusion for many residents. 

After several months of discussions among residents, ACLU Chapter members and the staff of the ACLU of Illinois, the Peoria Housing Authority (PHA) has made clear that they will be conscious of the needs of residents when making security decisions. In a letter to the ACLU Peoria Chapter in February, the PHA committed to “communicate any changes in safety precautions” to residents at Taft Homes and Harrison Homes as well. 

“We heard from PHA residents that the actions last July 4th were alarming and disturbing,” said Elaine Hopkins, President of the Peoria Chapter of the ACLU. “When we raised these issues with PHA, we did not always agree on the facts and details, but we appreciate the openness of Chair Cannon and others in PHA to engage in the conversation and promise to listen to the concerns of those families in PHA facilities.” 

“We look forward to continuing this dialogue with PHA and assuring the safety and well-being of residents.” 

Among other items discussed, the PHA has promised that it will try – whenever possible – to communicate changes to security more than a week in advance to residents. PHA also indicated that it does not – and will not – require residents to show identification to enter or exit a PHA facility, will clearly identify all ingress and egress points, and will ensure that those points are known to emergency responders. 

“The key to this process, the key to addressing the concerns of last summer, involves communication between PHA and the residents,” Hopkins added. “We believe that this communication will be strengthened and enhanced by this process.” 

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