Project NOW has partnered with the 14th Judicial Circuit in Rock Island County, the Rock Island County Bar Association, Prairie State Legal Services, Inc., and the Salvation Army to develop an Eviction Diversion Program.

The program — which has been operating for months — aims to keep tenants housed while ensuring that small business owners are reimbursed back rent, according to Project NOW.

There is $1.3 million available for tenants and property owners from Project NOW through the program. All tenants and property owners are encouraged to apply for rental assistance as soon as possible, since there is a delay in the processing of applications and the moratorium on evictions is no longer in effect, according to a Wednesday release from Project NOW.

Since January 10, the Sheriff’s office has evicted six households; seven more are planned for this week and three are pending, the agency said.

The Rock Island County program mandates mediations for all evictions. According to 14th Circuit Court Judge Carol Pentuic, mediations may be held at the courthouse on the initial court date however remote mediations are still available. Mediation is free of charge. Pentuic says that upon completion of the mediation, an agreement will be entered. If there is no resolution after mediation, the matter will be set for trial the next Thursday morning at 8:30 a.m. 

Project NOW executive director Dwight Ford

Representatives from Prairie State Legal Services, Project NOW and mediators are available at the Rock Island County Courthouse every Friday to help tenants and property owners. Project NOW’s executive director, Dwight Ford, says he understands it has been a difficulty and frustrating process for many, but since evictions are happening again, he encourages people to reach out to Project NOW.

“We have more than one million dollars to invest in the community and there are mediators at the courthouse to assist in the application process,” he said Wednesday.

For more information, call 309-793-6391 or visit Project NOW’s website