May 27, 2009

City Seeks Public Comment on Use of $22.4 Million in CDBG Grant Funds

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

The City of Chicago will post online for public comment beginning tomorrow its proposed use of $22.4 million in Community Development Block Grant Funds it will receive this year under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

Funding available under the Recovery Act has clear purposes – to stimulate the economy through measures that modernize the nation's infrastructure, improve energy efficiency and expand educational opportunities and access to health care.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which administers this special allocation of Block Grant funds, has strongly urged grantees to propose activities that are consistent with the overall Recovery Act goals and promote job creation, energy efficiency and conservation.

In keeping with the stated intent of this funding, the City of Chicago is proposing to use the $22.4 million to fund a combination of programs that will create green jobs for "hard-to-employ" Chicago residents and help address home foreclosures in neighborhoods citywide.

"We are proposing seven innovative programs aimed at low to moderate income populations, that are designed to achieve multiple goals simultaneously. We want to help some of our most vulnerable residents get jobs and skills. We want to improve our communities and environment, and we want to protect families from losing their homes," said Ann McNabb, Acting Budget Director. "We think these seven programs will have resounding positive impacts on Chicago's families, businesses and communities."

The plan available for public comment beginning Thursday outlines the following programs:

  • Create approximately 650 jobs for the formerly incarcerated and other hard-to-employ populations, and approximately 30 supervisory positions to be filled by non-formerly incarcerated persons and focused on the following areas:
  • Building Deconstruction
    154 jobs to assist with deconstructing City-owned buildings, processing the deconstructed materials, and preparing the materials for re-use in the building industry.
  • Green Job Work and Training Program
    210 jobs to assist with environmental and energy improvements in the areas of tree planting and landscaping, building retrofits to enhance energy efficiency and increased capacity to collect and recycle used electronic equipment.
  • Community Green Jobs Expansion
    85 jobs in Chicago-based non-profit organizations that offer green job training and work experience in the growing fields of locally grown organic agriculture, hand-made sustainable products and recycling services, and more.
  • Neighborhood Clean-Up
    230 jobs in a year round work and job training program in grounds maintenance and landscaping to include alley vegetation control, debris removal in alleys and vacant lots and commercial strip cleaning. 
  • Expand foreclosure prevention programs and preserve affordable housing
  • Foreclosure Prevention Counseling
    Provide comprehensive foreclosure prevention counseling and education to homeowners within the City of Chicago, especially those at risk of losing their homes.
  • Foreclosure Prevention Outreach Activities
    Offer additional outreach events to connect homeowners facing foreclosure with assistance under the Obama Administration's recently-announced foreclosure prevention plan so that homeowners can get into affordable, sustainable, fixed-rate mortgages.
  • Troubled Buildings Initiative- Distressed Condos Program
    Facilitate the acquisition, rehabilitation and recovery of distressed condominium buildings identified via the Troubled Buildings Initiative, and facilitate the conversion of those buildings into affordable rental housing for low-and moderate income families.

Posting the intended uses of Community Development Block Grant funds online and accepting public comment is required by ARRA. It is the same process that the City is required to follow each year when it applies for the regular (non-ARRA) Community Development Block Grant funds.


Comments will be accepted beginning Thursday, May 28, 2009, and continuing through Wednesday, June 3, 2009. The plan can be viewed at or

Copies of the plans will also be available at public library branches and Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities locations.

Written comments should be addressed to the Office of Budget and Management, City Hall, Room 604, 121 North LaSalle Street, Chicago, Illinois 60602, Attention: Darlene Watkins.

E-mail comments should be sent to:

Further information also can be obtained by calling the Office of Budget and Management, 312.744.6670, 312.744.3619 (TTY).

The city’s application for the funds must be submitted to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) June 5. No funds can be spent until after HUD approval is granted.

For a description of all proposed city expenditures related to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, visit