Austin Talks | Victims of crime seek financial assistance from state and local authorities

After Angela Gregg’s 4-year-old son was murdered while visiting Chicago over Labor Day weekend, his life — and his finances — changed instantly. She had to quit her job in Alabama and move here to fight for justice for her son, one of dozens of children killed in Chicago last year.

The father of Gregg’s son – who was with the boy when he was shot twice in the head – was also hit financially. He had to return to work right after Mychal “MJ” Moultry Jr. was hit by gunfire from outside the south side apartment where he was having his hair braided.

“I used up everything I had,” Gregg said, noting that she can’t get unemployment benefits from Alabama or Illinois. Although she received help from her family and friends, the death of her only child put her to the test.

Gregg joined other victims’ rights advocates and state Rep. La Shawn Ford Thursday at a virtual press conference to urge state and local officials to do more to help grieving families.

Ford and Donovan Price, with Solutions and Resources/Street Pastors, want the Illinois Housing Development Authority to set aside funds for victims of abuse to help them relocate; and they want IHDA to work with the Illinois Department of Social Services, Illinois Department of Aging, and Illinois Department of Health and Family Services to provide tenant moving assistance.

The group is also urging the Chicago Housing Authority to review its procedures and ensure the CHA gives priority to grieving tenants who want to move.

Ford said the National Housing and Development Authority has relationships with landlords who provide rental contracts to low-income families, so it would be very easy for IHDA to work with landlords and relocate members. family in places where they feel safer.

He said many families who cannot afford to move after their loved ones have died have told him they have been tormented by the people responsible for their loved one’s death.

“Can you imagine having to wake up in the very house and neighborhood where a tragedy took place? It’s just not possible for a person to start healing,” the Austin lawmaker said. “We ask the city and state to listen to those who are hurting and do what it takes to help them move forward.”

Ariel Rainey, founder and CEO of Hustle Mommies, said that for too many Chicagoans, “healing is a luxury” because they have nowhere else to live and no paid days off.

We need that help to help them heal,” Rainey said. “We are crying out for help.”

Residents looking for immediate help finding affordable housing can visit https://www.ilhousingsearch.org/ or call (877) 428-8844.

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