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President Preckwinkle announces over $15 million in grants for municipalities and community service providers

By at June 14, 2011 | 3:43 pm | Print

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle held a press conference to announce the allocation of over $15 million in grant funding for municipalities and community services providers throughout the County.

“We are emerging from an economic depression like we haven’t seen since the 1930s. Yet, we have a real opportunity to strengthen Chicago and define Cook County as the hub of the Midwest,” said Preckwinkle. “Economic development has to start with community development.”

The $15 million is composed of three different types of grants: Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), Emergency Shelter Grants (ESG) and HOME Investments Partnerships Program funding.

President Preckwinkle was joined by the Bureau Chief of Economic Development Maria Saldaña. The grant funding will be distributed through the new Bureau, which was a key priority in Preckwinkle’s transition report.

The new Bureau of Economic Development reorganized and consolidated several existing departments and divisions, including the Cook County Works (CCW) and the Departments of Community Development and Building and Zoning.

The Bureau of Economic Development has centralized and strengthened the role of community development in the County’s economic development efforts.

“The funding we are announcing today will help communities rebuild their infrastructure, strengthen their neighborhoods, and invest in their future,” said Maria Saldaña, Bureau Chief of the Cook County Bureau of Economic Development. “Community development is a basic cornerstone of larger economic development. By partnering with municipalities and service providers, we are able to deliver services for our residents that are most in need and create an environment that encourages further investment.”

This will enable us to make economic policy in a much more specific, clear and effective way than County government has done in quite some time,” said Preckwinkle. “For the first time, Cook County is looking at economic development throughout the region as a collaboration of departments, communities and municipalities.”

The estimated allocation for CDBG is approximately $9.4 million. Of the 101 recommended projects and activities, over 50% of the program funds will be targeted to needed capital improvements within suburban Cook County communities. Seventy-five percent of the projects will include the repair of streets, alleys and sidewalks resulting in the improvement of nearly 57 blocks.

Other areas of focus for the CDBG grants, include municipal infrastructure, such as water and sewer infrastructure for clean water and reduced flooding damage, youth services and housing counseling.

Approximately $5.5 million comes from the HOME Investment Partnership Program to create affordable housing for low-income households throughout the region. HOME is the largest Federal block grant to State and local governments designed exclusively to create affordable housing for low-income households.

“We are committed to improving the availability, affordability, and sustainability of decent, affordable housing within suburban Cook County,” said Preckwinkle.

Additionally, there is approximately $430,000 in Emergency Shelter Grants (ESG) to provide homeless individuals with basic shelter and essential supportive services.  The Emergency Shelter Grants program provides homeless persons with basic shelter and essential supportive services. It can assist with the operational costs of the shelter facility, and for the administration of the grant. ESG also provides short-term homeless prevention assistance to persons at imminent risk of losing their own housing due to eviction, foreclosure, or utility shutoffs.

“This is only the beginning of a more meaningful relationship with municipalities throughout the County,” said Preckwinkle.

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