Pritzker Administration Provides $10 Million in Community Revitalization Grants

The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) Board today approved $10 million in funding to support affordable housing and community revitalization efforts across the state. Awarded under the new Strong Communities Program (SCP), the initiative will provide funding to 68 units of local governments and land bank authorities for the acquisition, maintenance, rehabilitation and demolition of abandoned residential properties in their communities. As a result, the SCP will help address local affordable housing needs and community revitalization efforts for many local governments that lack capital needed to tackle this blight. The program is funded by Governor JB Pritzker’s bipartisan Rebuild Illinois capital plan, the first capital plan in nearly a decade. Created in August 2020, the Strong Communities Program provides grants of up to $250,000 to local government agencies to return vacant residential properties to productive and taxable use. A total of $30 million in grant funding will eventually be awarded through multiple funding rounds. Program funds will also reimburse municipalities for acquisition, rehabilitation, and maintenance including tree, shrub and debris removal, lot treatment and greening and other reasonable costs associated with returning blighted properties to productive use. Program funds may also be used for demolition in cases where properties are beyond repair and negatively impacting neighboring residences. A 2012 Federal Reserve study found that vacant and abandoned properties threaten the very sustainability of communities. A home that is simply foreclosed, but not vacant, lowers neighboring property values by up to 3.9 percent. If a home is foreclosed, tax delinquent and vacant, however, it can lower neighboring property values by nearly two and a half times that amount. Over the course of the program, SCP is projected to rehabilitate approximately 1,000 vacant and abandoned homes and fund the demolition of 500 vacant and abandoned homes beyond repair. For every dollar spent to address an abandoned and vacant home, the value of homes in the targeted area increases $4.27, according to the Center for Community Progress. By this estimate, SCP stands to increase property values by over $125 million in the aggregate in support of community residents and the local tax base over three funding rounds. As a result, SCP will increase property values, create jobs, help reduce crime, generate additional tax revenue and attract further community investment. The grants are funded by the Rebuild Illinois capital plan and will leverage IHDA’s ongoing state- and federally-funded initiatives to increase property values, create jobs, help reduce crime, generate additional tax revenue and attract further community investment in underserved communities around the state. A total of $30 million in grant funding will be awarded through the program over three application rounds

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