Alderman attend work session on updating housing code

Galesburg is looking at changing its housing code as Galesburg’s populations and properties have drastically changed over the years.
Housing Coordinator Judy Guenseth says there is an ever increasing number of rental properties in Galesburg.

It’s no secret that Galesburg has gone through tumultuous economic times in recent history, with the industrial manufacturing base leaving and then the economic downturn of 2008.

Guenseth explains that these two things made homes available for low prices, which were bought and turned into rentals.

She explained more rentals and property values that took a hit means property tax revenues dipped, which leaves local government with less resources to help a community with more need.

One of the ways to help, Guenseth says is by updating rental requirements and minimum housing standards to protect the city’s most vulnerable.

When we have a proactive approach and we work towards the health and safety of the citizens, we protect the most vulnerable in our community. We protect the elderly, disabled and low income,” Guenseth says.

A proposed new standard for landlords would be to be required to inspect all rental units every five years, either by the city or self-inspection.

A possible new requirement for minimum housing would be having two exits in every bed room and requiring a fire extinguisher in all multi-resident units.