Housing Rehab program on hold

Ann Gill

The village of Coal City’s participation in a government funded housing rehabilitation program is on hold, at least for now.
Early in the year, village officials were notified Coal City was one of 13 communities selected by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity [DCEO] to share $6.3 million in Community Development Block Grant [CDBG] Housing Rehabilitation funds.
This spring the North Central Illinois Council of Governments [NCICG]—the organization serving as the village’s grant administrator—filed the necessary paperwork seeking the release of those funds so the village could move forward, but as it turns out, no one is moving forward.
According to Coal City’s Village Administrator Matt Fritz, NCICG has not been given the go ahead by the state of Illinois to actually proceed with projects.
“Ours at least wasn’t really supposed to get rolling as far as construction until the first quarter of next year, “ Fritz said.
The $500,000 in CDBG funding is designed to assist low to moderate income homeowners make essential structural and related home improvements. The estimated actual cost of the rehabilitation work is $447,000—a figure that includes $20,000 in local matching funds.
In Coal City, the program will provide funds to assist 10 single family, owner-occupied households within a defined project area in compliance with minimal local, state and federal standards for safe living.
The project area set by the village is located east of Broadway and south of Division Street stopping on the east at Lincoln Street and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe rail line. The eastern border also includes homes on both sides of Vermillion Street south to East Elm Street, and the southern border stopping on the west at South Broadway. Among the reasons the area was selected by the village was its abundance of older homes.
Fritz reports village hall staff has been fielding calls from residents within the project area who are seeking updates on the status of the program, homeowners who are interested in participating in the program that provides non-refundable loans for qualified home improvements.
The release of funds is in the hands of DCEO and what they have shared with NCICG and the village is that they are swamped with work and the word from the agency is “will get to it as soon as we can.”
Until then, the village and its residents must wait.