The American Recovery Act, at least that administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), provided $13.61 billion for projects and programs designed to help communities recover from the economic downturn.
About $1 billion of those funds were earmarked for Community Development Block Grants (CDBG). According to Recovery.gov, a website used to inform, promote and monitor the programs’ progress, most local governments use this investment to rehabilitate affordable housing and improve key public facilities – stabilizing communities and creating jobs locally.
On the website, President Obama says, “We expect you, the American people, to hold us accountable for the results. That is why we have created Recovery.gov-so every American can go online and see how their money is being spent.”
A section of the website reports on allocations of the CDBG-R funds on a state-by-state basis and how communities used the funds. DeKalb and Naperville are two of 44 Illinois communities listed.
Jurisdiction/Grantee Name: CITY OF DEKALB, ILLINOIS – Date: 06/01/2009
CDBG-R Fomula Grant Amount: $110,573
Activity Description: Acquisition of one blighted or vacant property that has received repetitive damage due to stormwater and provide relocation assistance to the residents. The future use of the property has not been determined, however, due to the floodplain regulations, it will most likely remain open space. No specific property has been identified.
Jurisdiction/Grantee Name: IL, Naperville – Date: June 2, 2009
CDBG-R Fomula Grant Amount: $130,778
Activity Description: Weatherization Program – Single family owner-occupied energy audit and energy efficiency upgrades for low-mod individuals or families up to $5,000
Considering the size of the two municipal budgets we’re not talking about a lot of money here, but… DeKalb bought private property with Recovery Act money and while it hasn’t determined its future use it believes it will likely remain open space. The funds did help with relocation expenses of the family that lived in a home on the property.
Naperville used their Recovery Act money to help its low to moderate income single family owner occupied residents by providing energy audits and energy efficiency upgrades. Assuming each homeowner used its $5,000 max that’s 21 Naperville families receiving assistance to DeKalb’s one.
Considering the area’s unemployment rate, and the growing number of residents contending with foreclosure, more people need help recovering from the recession. Which model better addresses economic recovery, DeKalb or Naperville?