The Rockford Housing Authority takes a closer look at how many people committing crimes on its property are transplants. Part of this concern stems from the fact RHA sometimes has to accept an out-of-towner before a Rockford native for open units.
"Given the state of our economy, given the state of homelessness here to me that's an issue. We should really look at how we take care of folks in Rockford before we reach out," says Ron Clewer, Rockford Housing Authority CEO
The Rockford Housing Authority is required to have a preference point system. It gives people on waiting lists the chance to be chosen sooner depending on their circumstances. Clewer says an example might be a homeless person in Chicago might score higher than a Rockford native who is currently in some type of housing. He says RHA came under focus after some of his agency's partners like the Rockford School District and Rockford Police came to him with their own rising number of people from outside Rockford in trouble.
"You look at some of the judiciary system, you look at the truancy issues, you look at some of the problems in school and they are seeing some of the families or some of the children of families aren't Rockfordians," says Clewer.
Alderman Ann Thompson-Kelly says the same is true for Department of Corrections parolees.
"There are residents that have come into the community that doesn't have longevity and has not been a part of this community for several years and are committing crimes in this community," says Thompson-Kelly.
Clewer says there might be out-of-towners committing crimes but they're not RHA residents. Of the roughly 4,000 people living at RHA properties 41 were arrested last year. Only two had moved to Rockford in the last 12 months.
"I think its too small of a number to rise a big red flag. I think it is something we need to monitor though. If you think about it when they came to us they wouldn't have had a criminal history so we wouldn't have accepted them, we wouldn't have brought them in to live in the unit. So whatever happened between the time they moved here and that actual arrest happened here," says Clewer.
The Rockford Police have asked the RHA to now track where people come from who commit crimes on their property.
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