Byline: Kara Spak Daily Herald Staff Writer
That familiar word - crowding - surfaced again in Elgin Thursday, as residents and business owners sounded off about obstacles to fair housing.
Elgin sponsored the meeting for community leaders and residents to give input to Mike Rozny, an independent contractor who is writing a required Housing and Urban Development report on housing in Elgin, Aurora and other Kane County communities.
Elgin, Aurora and Kane County, all municipalities receiving community development block grants from the federal Housing and Urban Development Agency, must issue the "fair housing impediment report" to qualify for the funds.
Rozny encouraged those participating, which included only four people who were not employed by the city or a media outlet at the evening session, to describe "impediments" to fair housing, whether they were intentional acts of discrimination or not.
Crowding and occupancy standards topped the list of problems in the city, joined by a lack of affordable housing, discrimination against people with subsidized incomes and a lack of understanding housing rules.
"There is not enough affordable housing," said Laura Barth, a South Elgin resident. "I think people would like to follow the rules. They want to move but where?"
Also mentioned were lack of affordable and accessible housing for the disabled, insufficient public transportation and a general fear of multi-unit housing.
"There's a disturbing trend in terms of housing," said Mark Biernacki, Elgin's community development director. "Any apartment complex is opposed unless it's built in a field …