Eviction stock file

The City of Kankakee’s Economic and Community Development Agency (ECDA) has been accepted into the National League of Cities (NLC) 2021 Eviction Prevention Learning Lab (EPLL).

KANKAKEE — The city of Kankakee’s Economic and Community Development Agency has been accepted into the National League of Cities’ 2021 Eviction Prevention Learning Lab.

It is nationwide peer-to-peer network for cities and their partners to gain exposure to best practices, policies and tools to prevent evictions, according to a press release from the city. Kankakee is one of only 30 cities nationwide selected to participate, and expects to develop and refine equitable eviction interventions.

In December 2020 the ECDA team, led by staff accountant and compliance officer, Jonathan Shinabarger, mailed a survey to landlords within the city limits to learn about their properties. The team distributed 352 surveys and received 66 responses.

“We learned from the survey responses that as of February 2021, there are 51 landlords that have a total of $836,597 in unpaid rent,” ECDA director Barbi Brewer-Watson explained in a news release. “This is just a snapshot of a much larger crisis that we are preparing for once the eviction moratorium is lifted.”

The city will be partnering with multiple regional stakeholders to attend these meetings. During EPLL, participants will gain access to resources such as interactive virtual programming with subject matter experts and small group workshops to discuss eviction prevention tactics and strategies.

Officials with the ECDA office say they have committed to improving its gathering of eviction data and communicating rights and responsibilities to both landlords and tenants.

“Our team is developing a comprehensive housing strategy this year, and as part of that we want to know what’s happening with evictions,” Shinabarger said in a news release. “The EPLL should give us the tools and resources we need to research new potential city-wide eviction programs or policies, ultimately improving housing security for the 50 percent of Kankakee residents who rent.”

“By applying for the Eviction Prevention Learning Lab, the city of Kankakee will continue its commitment to operationalizing racial equity and embedding it into local eviction strategies. With the concern of an eviction crisis on the rise, the city hopes the EPLL can help staff and partners gain more capacity to prevent and assist during this crisis while improving overall housing stability within the city,” Mayor Chasity Wells-Armstrong said in a news release.

For more information, contact Shinabarger at 815-933-0506 or yourvoice@citykankakee-il.gov.