Monday, August 1, 2011

What's going on in the Taft Homes?

As the PHA directors win awards for "doing their jobs", many of the residents feel that the place has never been worse. I'm sure we all saw the recent reports of rats running rampant in Taft. They were so bad, there is no way an active management could have missed it.

From WMBD...
"Not more than ten steps into our visit at Taft Homes, we saw the evidence everywhere. A dead rat, holes under the porches, in the ground, and even in people's homes. A woman living at Taft Homes in Peoria called the WMBD newsroom looking for help. Rats were taking over her housing complex. Brenda Coleman said she had been telling management about the problem for months, but nothing happened. After our station told the Peoria Housing Authority what we saw, it got to work right away."

We also saw what has been described as "a large-scale illegal fireworks display in a housing complex adjacent to the state’s largest Fourth of July celebration" - another thing that an active management should have seen.

Did I say active management? Perhaps thats the problem, because you see, I have it from a reliable source that the PHA manager at Taft walked out earlier this summer and last week the replacement manager walked out and as of right now, there is NO ONE literally NO ONE, on the property managing it. The doors to the office were locked all last week.

After the Fourth of July debacle there was a lot of talk about increasing security in Taft Homes. Well, I guess they haven't done it yet, because I heard that Saturday night (July 30th), gun shots were being fired for about an hour straight and it was so bad, some residents wouldn't even go home. Wonder why that didn't make the pjstar.

While we are talking about guns, shooting and not making the news... I also heard that Friday night (July 29th), several guys were shooting in Harrison Homes.

SIDEBAR... whenever I see the words Harrison Homes, I think Harrison Street. Anyhow...

Funny, the last couple of days I was thinking things (i.e., shootings) seemed to have calmed down a bit (guess I was wrong). Unfortunately, I now have to rely on the "on the ground reports" from people in the hood to find out what is really going on in Peoria's housing projects.


walk of shame said...

I hope Drudge doen't pick this up and paint Peoria in anything other than a positive light.

I am playing devil's advocate here but how are these personal accounts any more reliable than the personal reports about the Thrush St. incident?

Emerge Peoria said...

Don't worry about Drudge, WoS the headline didn't say anything about black folks shooting or hurting white folks.

JANUS1975 said...

I know that I will get beat up for this, but as someone who grew up in the DubH in the 70's and 80's, it went downhill when the residents no longer took care of their own place. I as a young boy had to get a library card and mow our own grass. If a window got broken out we were expected to pay for it ourselves. I remember there was a change in management. Pretty soon all the old people who planted flowers, move out and it slowly turned into a dump. No grass, garbage everywhere, I could no longer walk through the housing by myself. It was not real nice (like in the 50's) but it was still decent. I recently drove through the Taft, obviously, no one there has the desire to clean up after themselves. OK, now go ahead and knock me down and kick me.

Anonymous said...

Janus: nail meet head.

There is an element of personal responsibility involved. I've never had rats in my dwellings, and I've lived in some pretty nasty places. Me thinks if the residents did a better job cleaning up after themselves, there wouldn't be a rat problem. Perhaps purchase bottles of pinesol instead of fireworks next fourth of July.

Emerge Peoria said...


Do you think the rats have anything to do with the City's sewer system and the housing project being on the river with a fermentation plant in their back yard?

Dennis in Peoria said...

Emerge, that is a very good question. I wish I had an answer.

JANUS1975 said...

Emerge, you bring up some really good points! But, I don't remember this being a problem before, and again, I never lived in the Taft, only the Harrison. When my family first moved to Peoria, we lived on the north side, Jefferson and Adams, right across from the Taft. I do remember seeing rats at the river, but never on Jeff or Adams, and we lived in slums. I am in no way blaming the problems on the residents, I am just saying, they could do a better job of cleaning up. Someone once asked, in a place with such high unemployment, why don't the people have time to clean up their own yards. I know it is not that easy. The answer. And yes, it is the city, and the PHA's job to take care of the rats, but, there is no good reason to have that much garbage just lying around. Thanks for not beating me up over this.

Anonymous said...

Janus 1975: Why would anyone beat you up for speaking the truth and pointing out the obvious?

Emerge Peoria said...

Megan Lundeen didn't hesitate to point the cameras towards trash left out, in an effort to blame the residents for the rats.

However, if there was ACTIVE MANAGMENT in place, day to day maintenance type of activties should take care of trash before it gets to be to much of a problem.

The PHA receives rent for every person living down there. Some pay out of their pockets (a few); while most receive some kind of subsidies. Regardless, this project exists on the backs of taxpayers.

The PHA is doing a piss poor job of managing their properties, but never hesitate to rush out in front of the cameras and act like they got it all covered.

The PHA Administration and Board needs to be held accountable for what is going on in the projects - instead they continue to get a pass and people blame the residents. Residents can only get away with what the PHA and Police will let them

Meghan Lundeen said...

You're absolutely right that I pointed out food that was intentionally set out on the sewer for the birds because it contributes to the problem. But believe me - that does not mean we blame the residents. I said repeatedly on camera it's a 2-way street. And yes, we did jump in front of the camera to respond because I think we have an obligation to respond to our residents' concerns. If we are doing it on camera then it's a transparent process and we can be held accountable for the process. Sorry you see it the way you do, but that's where we were coming from. Regardless, it's good to see blogs like yours that address real concerns for our families! You are right about our staff. We have management on the ground at Taft at the director level trying to work through everything. I see the irony with the timing of our award but I think it's important to continue to move forward with resident programs despite a changeover in management. We can't let some of those things hold us back from helping people who have basic needs and that's what ARRO tries to do. Happy blogging!

Emerge Peoria said...

Hi Mehgan:

Thanks for your response.

Can you confirm about the shooting that took place in Taft on Saturday and Harrison on Friday?

What will the PHA be doing to increase security to insure the safety of residents and visitors?

Is the PHA currently without a manager for Taft Homes?

I appreciate the voice YOU have given residents and your efforts to get out in front of the camera. You have been a good representative.

Anonymous said...

Scattered site subsidized housing works- collective misery doesn't. Plus being willing to work...instead of producing babies to live off the government helps too.