PEORIA, IL -- The home of two mentally disabled women was demolished on June 30 by the city of Peoria, leaving them with only a few bags of possessions.
And apparently no one cares.
The home owner, Peg Pendell, 64, was arrested when she moved a car to a nearby parking lot before the demolition was scheduled. Police said they had two warrants for her arrest for traffic offenses.
The three officers in three squad cars had been waiting for her to move the car.
She was taken to the Peoria County jail. Her car was towed away. The arrest prevented her from returning to the home to take out more of her possessions.
Pendell is handcuffed by police.
Pendell's adult daughter, Jessica Taylor, was taken away from the parking lot to a temporary shelter by an Emergency Response Service worker. He said she will sleep temporarily on a couch, but there is no housing available for her.
The large two-story house at 3523 N. Knoxville at War Memorial, on a tree- shaded lot, was then turned into a pile of rubble.
Pendell's home was turned into rubble by a demolition contractor.
Pendell earlier said she was unable to effectively fight the demolition in court because of her medical issues. She had strokes in December and January, she said.
She and her daughter live on Social Security income.
A few Peorians who claimed to know the story said the house was filthly inside, and that Pendell would not cooperate with authorities in cleaning up the house and yard.
None seemed to care what happened to these two women, but expressed interest in getting rid of the house, though it did not appear to be dilapidated.
The women only received the demolition notice on Thursday, June 26, and their efforts to contact people for legal help apparently didn't work.
Their limited income meant they were unable to find someone to remove unwanted items that initially attracted the attention of code enforcement officials.
With many houses on the city's demolition list, why was this one at the top? Pendell asked.
It will be interesting to see what happens to the lot, at one of the busiest intersections in Peoria.
Meanwhile, Pendell likely will be released from jail sooner or later, and left without a place to live safely. She once had a middle class life, and said she has a boat in a marina and might live there. But that would require resources and a vehicle.
Their situation shows the weakness of the system for helping mentally disabled people. With a little help, they might have been able to continue living in their home, where they spent the night before it was demolished.
Instead, now they could end up homeless or in a nursing home with the bills paid by Medicaid.
It's sad, but nobody cares.
-- Elaine Hopkins