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Local News

Will County Board to vote on establishing housing, census committees

Will County Board members debated a proclamation to declare the first Friday of June National Gun Violence Awareness Day at its May 16, 2019 meeting.
Will County Board members debated a proclamation to declare the first Friday of June National Gun Violence Awareness Day at its May 16, 2019 meeting.

The Will County Board will vote to establish two new ad hoc committees concerned with housing and the 2020 Census.

The Will County Board Executive Committee approved the pair of committees at its meeting Thursday.

Board member Amanda Koch, D-Frankfort, said she wanted to create a committee on modern housing solutions because of conversations she had with constituents while canvassing. She said she encountered many intergenerational homes with younger adults living with their parents because they couldn’t find reasonable housing on their own.

“[I thought] you know, it really is kind of an issue,” Koch said.

She said she would like to see more quality housing that’s both affordable and attractive for younger adults. Rachel Ventura, D-Joliet, cited a study from the Will County Center for Economic Development, which showed that the population of county residents in their mid-20s to mid-30s has significantly decreased, primarily because of a lack of attainable housing.

Jim Moustis, R-Frankfort, expressed concern about establishing the committee on housing because he said he was unsure about what specifically such a body could do in terms of solutions.

Koch said the scope of housing-related issues the committee could tackle is wide, but any solutions or recommendations it comes up with will be driven by data and input from experts. Then, any recommendations it comes up with can go to whatever agency, government body or County Board committee that would be appropriate for consideration.

“What I would like to see is young professionals find housing that’s attractive to them and their families that fit their lifestyle,” Koch said. “Maybe we can start bringing better jobs to our county.”

The committee on the 2020 census will focus on publicizing the decennial count and engaging various groups concerned with getting an accurate measurement of underrepresented communities. The Illinois Complete Count Commission has made recommendations to municipalities on what to do to ensure such populations, like residents of color, immigrants, veterans, young people, etc., all get accurately counted in 2020.

Moustis again expressed concerns, this time about whether a legislative committee was the best way to address concerns about an accurate census count. He said such efforts might be best-suited within the executive branch. Will County Board Speaker Denise Winfrey, D-Joliet, said the Will County Executive’s Office supported a census committee.

The next Will County Board meeting is Thursday.

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