Fair Oaks residents jump ship

Local News

DANVILLE, Ill. (WCIA) – The Housing Authority plans to tear down 57 housing units at Fair Oaks.

A few dozen families in Danville have to find a new place to live next year, and for the majority of them, that won’t be in town.

A lot more people plan to leave Vermilion County than they were expecting.

About 80% (35 families) living in the buildings being demolished said they’re taking their vouchers and jumping ship.

There are more than 300 units of housing at Fair Oaks.

The Housing Authority of the City of Danville told us it’s become too much to manage.

So they’re trying to whittle that down, spread out the poverty, and thus bring down the crime.

“The circumstances which follow a high concentration of poverty will be remediated once we get a manageable number of units together,” said Jaclyn Vinson, director of the Housing Authority of the City of Danville.

She’s hoping to at least cut the number of units left standing in half.

She thought the number of people who are staying vs. going would have a similar ratio.

“I figured it would be more 50-50. Half would stay and half would leave,” said Vinson. “I was surprised that it was as high of a percentage that indicated their intentions to port out.”

R.J. Davis, Danville alderman and member of the Three Kings of Peace, weighed in, saying “many of your prominent people, particularly African-American, but not just African-American, lived in Fair Oaks. Fair oaks was a means to an end, not an ends to a mean.”

He said he’s seen how over the years, Fair Oaks has gone downhill.

He can’t blame people for wanting to leave. In fact, he thinks if they do, it’s a win-win.

“They’ll live in better places,” said Davis. “They will not be cramped, and it’ll be almost a new lease on life. But of course, the things that will make it a new lease on life is the choices, as they begin to make the right choices.”

Speaking of choices…Vinson says she’s confident many people believe when it comes to Fair Oaks, the Housing Authority is making the right one.

“I believe that more families would openly embrace expanded demolition,” said Vinson.

The families leaving have 120 days from this past Friday to find new housing.

The Housing Authority will be helping them through that process.

6 buildings and 57 units are coming down as part of phase one.

The Housing Authority doesn’t have a timeline for phase two yet, but they said that’s when they’d look into further demolition.

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