Resilient Redevelopment: This state wisely combines funding for community revitalization and affordable housing

As readers of the 2020 book, RECONOMICS: The Path To Resilient Prosperity know, affordable housing is a crucial element in the downtown revitalization strategies of many communities.

This has been well known among redevelopment experts for over a decade, so it’s amazing that so few state agencies fail to integrate their affordable housing and community revitalization funding programs. One state that doesn’t make this mistake is Illinois.

On May 4, 2023, the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) announced that another $15 million is available in grant funding to support affordable housing and community revitalization efforts across the state.

Available under the second round of IHDA’s Strong Communities Program (SCP), the initiative provides funding to units of local government and land bank authorities for the acquisition, maintenance, rehabilitation and demolition of abandoned residential properties in their communities.

The program is designed to support local revitalization efforts and attract further investment in communities that may lack the resources needed to tackle vacant, abandoned and deteriorated properties.

In Illinois, we believe every single person deserves to live in a home that is safe and affordable,” said Governor JB Pritzker.

For far too long, many families have resided in homes that lack the essentials everyone is entitled to. Through this funding, we are making historic investments to ensure that we are living up to our values of accessibility and equity while also providing more Illinoisans with the safety and security they have long deserved,” he added.

Created in August 2020, this round of the Strong Communities Program provides grants of up to $750,000 to help Illinois municipalities, counties and land banks address local affordable housing needs and community revitalization efforts.

Housing is more than shelter, it’s part of the foundation of our wellbeing when we know that we have an affordable place to call home,” said Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton.

The Strong Communities Program will broaden access to affordable housing through development in the neighborhoods where it is needed most, while creating jobs and opportunities for entrepreneurship,” she continued.

The program aims to return vacant residential properties to productive and taxable use through rehabilitation and provide funds for demolition in cases where properties are beyond repair and negatively impacting neighboring residences.

As a result, SCP will help to increase property values, create jobs, help reduce crime, generate additional tax revenue and attract further community investment.

As our infrastructure ages, it is imperative our housing stock receive the care and upgrades necessary to keep them viable,” said IHDA Executive Director Kristin Faust.

If the properties are abandoned or vacant, it is on the city or county to maintain them at the cost of the taxpayers. The Strong Communities Program is helping offset some of the cost burden to help local governments invest in their cities by revitalizing these properties,” she explained

SCP program funds will reimburse applicants for costs related to the acquisition, rehabilitation and maintenance of abandoned residential properties and may also include reimbursements for tree, shrub and debris removal, lot treatment and greening and other reasonable construction costs associated with returning vacant, abandoned and deteriorated properties to productive use.

The grants are funded by the Rebuild Illinois capital plan and will leverage IHDA’s ongoing state- and federally-funded revitalization initiatives in underserved communities around the state. A total of $30 million in grant funding will be awarded through the program over two application rounds.

Applications will be accepted through 3 p.m. on Wednesday, June 7, 2023.

Photo of downtown Calumet City, Illinois by vxla via Wikipedia.

Learn more and apply for funding here.

You must be logged in to post a comment