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Will County to Receive Federal Funding for Health and Safety Projects
Anastasia Tuskey
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Will County to Receive Federal Funding for Health and Safety Projects

$975,000 included in FY22 Omnibus Appropriations Bill for three Will County projects

Will County Executive Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant announced today that three Community Project Funding (CPF) requests made by the county were included in the federal FY22 Omnibus Appropriations Bill. The $975,000 in federal funding will support critical local needs, including upgrades to the East Joliet Sanitary District, investment in a behavioral health workforce initiative, and supporting the county’s Opioid Overdose Intervention Program. The spending package was signed into law today by President Joe Biden.

“This funding is a significant investment in the health and safety of our communities,” said County Executive Bertino-Tarrant. “I am thankful for the efforts of Senator Duckworth and Senator Durbin who continue to champion for the needs of Will County.”

The legislation will include $500,000 to support upgrades to the Southeast Joliet Sanitary District, ensuring a safe drinking water and sanitary systems for 700 households in unincorporated Preston Heights, in partnership with the City of Joliet. The current water system is in disrepair, and the sanitary system exceeds the maximum capacity for wastewater treatment, which could result in backups and increased risk of wastewater overflows into the community. By addressing the public infrastructure needs, Will County can support other redevelopment efforts in this underserved area as identified in the Sugar Run Creek Neighborhood Plan.

“I’m pleased I was able to secure funding for important projects that will help clean up our water, improve our state’s infrastructure, expand healthcare access, create jobs and tackle environmental injustice issues facing communities across Illinois,” said Sen. Duckworth. “I’m proud to see communities throughout Will County benefitting from this critical support, and I’ll keep working to ensure our Illinois communities have the resources they need to thrive.”

“There is no more basic necessity than a well-functioning clean water and sanitary system,” said Will County Board Member Herb Brooks, Jr. “This investment in the Southeast Joliet Sanitary District’s water and sewer infrastructure will improve the quality of life for the residents and encourage economic development in this this area.

The legislation allocates $475,000 to strengthen Will County’s fight against opioid abuse, including $300,000 being provided to the Will County Behavioral Health Workforce Project. This project provides career training, supportive services, and educational resources to individuals, including veterans, recovering from substance use disorder and provides entry-level jobs to participants through local community organizations.

“The provision in the appropriations package to expand the Will County Behavioral Workforce Pipeline project is a necessary step in helping Illinois citizens who have suffered from addiction reenter the workforce,” Sen. Durbin said. “People recovering from addiction should have the help they need to begin working again, and this expansion will provide career training, supportive services, and educational resources. The additional funding to distribute naloxone will help save lives by preventing opioid overdoses.”

Also included is $175,000 to Will County’s Rapid Response Team, which deploys Naloxone to high-risk communities and helps individuals with a substance use disorder connect to recovery resources.

“Opioid use and deaths remain a priority in Will County,” said Bertino-Tarrant. “This funding will empower our Rapid Response Team to save lives and connect people with the treatment to support their path to recovery.”

A summary of the projects receiving funding is below:

Southeast Joliet Sanitary District Improvements Project
Amount funded: $500,000

Water and sewer systems in unincorporated areas are aging and in need of repair and improvements to ensure safe drinking water and sanitary systems. This project will address identified water system and sanitary system repair needs by the Southeast Joliet Sanitary District of Joliet Township, which exceeds the maximum capacity for wastewater treatment.

Will County Behavioral Health Workforce Project
Amount funded: $300,000

This project provides career training for entry-level jobs as recovery coaches/peer specialists for community organizations. This initiative addresses the shortage of behavioral health treatment providers in Will County and reduces barriers for people in recovery from a substance use disorder (including veterans) return to the workforce. The Will County Office of Substance Use Initiatives, in collaboration with Will County Workforce Services Division and Governors State University, will provide career training, supportive services, and educational resources to individuals negatively impacted by a substance use or mental health problem who are seeking to reenter the workforce.

Will County Deployment of Naloxone and Linkage to Care Rapid Response Team
Amount funded: $175,000

The Rapid Response project consists of a team of peers in recovery who work to reduce overdose deaths by delivering naloxone to high-risk areas for opioid use and respond to peaks in overdoses. This team also provides linkages for individuals seeking substance use disorders treatment and short-term housing while awaiting admission to care. With the increase in overdose deaths due to fentanyl, naloxone distribution plays a critical role in saving lives.
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