Woodford County Housing Authority Broadens Admissions Criteria for HUD Assisted Housing in Response to PSLS' Racial Discrimination Complaint

May 14, 2024

On April 22, 2024, the Woodford County Housing Authority (WCHA) entered into a public settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) which expands the admissions policies of its housing choice voucher (HCV) and public housing programs. The agreement provides that WCHA will abolish its longstanding residency preference in its HCV and public housing programs, and will invite residents of Peoria County to apply for its programs.

The settlement resulted from a complaint that Prairie State Legal Services (PSLS) filed with HUD in 2022. PSLS’ complaint alleged that WCHA violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by administering its HCV program in a way that had a disproportionate adverse impact on Black applicants.

Under the settlement, WCHA agreed to abolish its residency preference and to advertise their HCV program throughout Peoria County. WCHA will also send letters to former applicants to notify them of the change and invite them to join the waitlist.

Thomas Dennis, Managing Attorney of PSLS’ Peoria and Galesburg offices, believes that the settlement will provide much needed additional affordable housing for Peoria residents. Dennis stated, "There is a serious shortage of affordable, decent and safe housing in the Peoria area. I believe this settlement will provide more opportunities for people in our community to access housing in areas of opportunity, which are areas that provide access to good schools, jobs, as well as quality services and amenities."

WCHA’s HCV waitlist is currently open. Applications are available at woodfordcountyhousingauthority.com.