ProjectNOW: A local organization that is working to provide safe and affordable housing to those in need


Courtesy of ProjectNOW website

ProjectNOW is a local organization that aims to reduce poverty in the community by assisting those in need.

Rupika Jai Ganesh, Feature Editor

Shelter has always been considered a basic necessity, yet for many, especially after the pandemic, having a home is a goal with unreachable steps. 

Housing affordability in the United States has been a growing concern in recent years, with many Americans struggling to afford the rising cost of housing. According to a report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, the average American needs to earn $22.96 per hour in order to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment, while the minimum wage in many states, including Iowa and Illinois, is much below this threshold. 

In fact, a report from Harvard University has found that people who desire to rent homes now are making almost the same amount of money as people who rented homes in the 1960s, after adjusting for inflation. However, rent prices have gone up 61% since the 1960s, yet wages haven’t. 

Homeless shelters are also reporting an increase in visitors, with wait lists increasing rapidly. 

However, a local organization is trying to combat this issue, by helping those who are struggling financially to find a home. 

ProjectNOW is an Illinois based organization that is focused on providing affordable and safe housing for those in need, their slogan being “Rooting out poverty.” 

ProjectNOW originated in the 1960s when two Fathers of two different churches noticed that people in their communities were greatly struggling and needed more help than what they were provided. 

Right now, ProjectNOW provides many different services including rent/deposit assistance, transitional housing, homeless services and utility payment assistance. They also operate a Head Start for low income families with children 3-5 years old. 

“Each program has certain requirements,” stated Ron Lund, ProjectNOW’s Community Service Director. “Most require us to collect social security numbers, and income. Other documents will be required based on the program they apply for. For example, if they need help with rent, we would need to collect their lease, a ledger showing what is owed, and verification on what happened and why they can not pay their rent.” 

This through process helps the organization provide help to all those that severely need it. 

“ProjectNOW has seen significant growth because of Covid and the effects it’s had on our community. This growth has resulted in ProjectNOW creating a food pantry and a mobile food truck as well as six Honor Homes designed to house homeless Veterans,” continued Lund. 

ProjectNOW operates in the Illinois Quad Cities area, while its sister organization, Community Action of Eastern Iowa operates in Scott County. 

As housing affordability continues to be a pressing issue, it’s important that we support organizations like ProjectNOW that are working to provide affordable and safe housing for those in need. By volunteering, donating or simply spreading awareness, we can all play a part in helping to make sure that everyone has a roof over their head. 

Now more than ever, it’s essential that we come together to address this pressing issue and ensure that everyone has access to the basic necessity of shelter.