Grant money to fund 19 projects in Elgin
By Mike Danahey firstname.lastname@example.org @DanaheyECN January 21, 2014 4:12PM
Patrick Cook shrink wraps packages of cards while working in the workshop at The Association for Individual Development in Elgin in 2011. AID is slated to receive $40,000 in Community Development Block Grant money from the city this year. | File~Sun-Times
Updated: February 23, 2014 6:26AM
ELGIN — A jump in federal funding and money left over from past projects means Elgin finds itself in the unique position of being able to fund all of the eligible 2014 public facility and public service project requests for HUD Community Development Block Grant money.
The extra funds come from a $460,000 increase in the city’s 2013 federal allocation and from projects in past years that were completed under budget.
“It’s great that there will be money to help so many groups that help so many residents,” Councilman Richard Dunne said.
According to supporting material for Wednesday night’s city council meeting, 20 project proposals from Elgin nonprofits and government entities were submitted.
Of those, 17 were determined to be eligible for the block grant funding, two require additional eligible activity verification, and one is ineligible.
The ineligible submission was from the owners of The Professional Building downtown, which does not qualify because it is not a nonprofit.
Dunne and fellow Councilman John Steffen worked with the city’s community development department staff to review the projects and initially prepared a list of 13 projects to be suggested for funding.
Two types of projects can qualify for CDBG money: public facilities work, which includes rehabilitation and upgrading buildings; and public service projects, which include rental assistance to social service agencies.
Typically, HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) allows only 15 percent of a community’s total CDBG allocation for a program year to be awarded to public service projects.
So, along with the original 13 suggested projects, three others would be funded from the excess CDBG funding, pending city council approval. Staff is recommending that funding for a housing repair program proposed by My Father’s Hands Housing be deferred pending finalization of the project.
“The groups are to be commended for knowing how the process works well enough that their projects were within both the means and the qualification considerations,” Dunne said.
Funding request breakdowns
Elgin’s Residential Rehabilitation Program — which usually gets an annual allocation — currently only funds work done to the exterior of properties. In July, HUD required Elgin to update its policies to address lead hazards on both the exterior and interior of properties participating in the program.
Thus, conducting risk assessments of the interiors of participating properties will be part of the process. The results of those could mean people may have to relocate temporarily while the lead is being removed.
As such, Dunne said the city is seeking further clarification from HUD on its policy change to ensure funding can properly be doled out.
A 30-day public review and comment period begins Jan. 24 and ends Feb. 23. The city council will conduct the final public hearing on March 19, then will vote to adopt a resolution authorizing staff to submit an annual action plan to HUD.
The city would take $55,801 to administer the program.
Projects suggested to be awarded funding include:
Association for Individual Development, $40,000 for safety and accessibility renovations.
The city of Elgin, up to $325,212 for its residential rehabilitation program, with $112,559.52 from 2014’s allocation and the rest from the balance of remaining excess CDBG money.
Community Crisis Center, $50,050 for roof and HVAC improvements.
Ecker Center for Mental Health, $70,385 for parking lot and walkway rehabilitation.
Greater Elgin Family Care Center, $60,000 in excess CDBG money to for Summit Health Center renovations.
My Father’s Hands Housing, a possible $30,000 from excess CDBG money to perform repairs for low-income elderly and disabled residents, pending clarification of guidelines.
Northern Illinois Food Bank, $50,000 for salvage, waste and recycling expansion, with the money coming from excess CDBG money, also those pending clarification of guidelines.
Open Door Clinic of Greater Elgin, $50,000 to go toward a new building project, with the money coming from excess CDBG money.
Renz Addiction Counseling Center, $35,000 for parking lot repaving.
Well Child Center, $55,000 to replace an HVAC system.
YWCA, $150,000 for remodeling.
Senior Services Associates, $66,480 for building maintenance, with the money coming from excess CDBG money.
Hanover Township, $25,000 for an elevator project at the Izaak Walton Center.
Housing Authority of Elgin, $60,790 for multifamily residential rehabilitation programs, with the money coming from excess CDBG money.
Elgin Wayside Center, $30,010 for rental reimbursement.
HOPE Fair Housing Center, $28,629.48 for programs and services.
PADS (Public Action to Deliver Shelter) of Elgin, $50,000 for rental reimbursement.
Senior Services Associates, $36,000 for rental reimbursement.