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Joliet wants residents to speak up for grant program

Published: Friday, July 25, 2014 12:02 a.m. CST

JOLIET – The city of Joliet is requesting resident input for its annual Community Development Block Grant and HOME Investment Partnerships Program applications.

Joliet residents are asked to fill out a questionnaire found on a link on the city’s home page.

The 19-question confidential survey requests generic information such as age, gender and income.

But those who respond also get to answer questions regarding recreational facilities that need improvement and neighborhood problems. They also can give opinions on the use of city social service programs, employment issues, housing issues and fair housing complaints.

Both programs are run through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The CDBG program provides funding for public facilities, infrastructure, job-creation for low- and moderate-income persons, disaster recovery, affordable housing and other projects. HOME funds are used to create affordable housing for low-income households.

“This is a huge part of the process ... because HUD requires public input and impact,” said Alfredo Melesio, Joliet’s director of neighborhood services. “We’re doing the maximum we can do with public meetings and the online survey.”

In 2014, Joliet received $907,998 in CDBG funds and $383,602 in HOME funds, according to HUD.

In 2015, the city anticipates it will receive about $750,000 in CDBG funds and $430,000 in HOME funds.

In order to receive funding, Joliet must prepare a Five-Year Consolidated Plan for 2015 to 2019, and a One-Year Annual Action Plan. At least 70 percent of the CDBG funds must benefit low- and moderate-income residents. 

“We really need people to fill out the survey,” Melesio said. “It gives them a chance to say what the city should use these funds for. We use it as a baseline for moving forward.”

Melesio said residents also can mail their comments to him at Joliet City Hall, 150 W. Jefferson St., Joliet, IL 60432.

More information on the city’s 2014 Action Plan and 2013 Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report can be found on the city’s website.

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