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Illinois ACLU praises Peoria Housing Authority for improving relations with Taft Homes residents about security

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PEORIA (WEEK) - The Peoria Housing Authority intends to improve communication with neighbors about security at Taft Homes after a widely-covered summertime incident, and the Illinois American Civil Liberties Union is praising the PHA for trying to solve the problem.

Last July 4, a private company blocked a Taft Homes entrance, inconveniencing residents and slowing emergency responders.

The next month, the family of a 61-year old woman said she could have been saved, but first responders could not get to her in time because the gates were locked.

Ed Yonka, spokesperson for the Illinois ACLU, said the housing authority is committed to making sure this does not happen again.

"This was not something in which we ever had to write any sort of demand letter," said Yonka.

"There were no kinds of back and forth about those kinds of things. It was simply a conversation and a discussion I think in a very appropriate and positive way," Yonka added.

PHA Board Chairman Carl Cannon said the agency is working on improving lines of communication.

"We want to be transparent. I don't think we did such a good job with that last year, but we are self correcting and we're excited about moving forward," said Cannon.

The PHA is agreeing to make sure Taft residents are told about planned security measures.

The housing authority is hoping for Fourth of July celebration this year, assuming the community's COVID-19 numbers continue to level off.

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