Community Development Division local priorities, strategies, and objectives are articulated in the current 5-year Consolidated Plan (2020-2024).  The Division is committed to supporting the Fair Housing Act and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) mission and aspires to “build strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all”

The Division utilizes a fair housing initiative called We WILL Build Equal Opportunity Housing & Communities for community development education and outreach.  Strong, sustainable and inclusive communities include diverse housing options, grounded in a safe built environment and connected to a network of healthy food options, health care, education, jobs, transportation, and open space.  By focusing on housing, the mission is aligned with HUD, which seeks to utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life. 

To build strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all, the We WILL Build initiative has the following 3 goals:

1) Community Outreach. Improve access to information and help build capacity of local partners. Communities with strong social capital are emprowered to make change.  To remain strong, communities must develop relationships, must be informed and must have trust while working for a common good.

HOW: Hosting technical assistance workshops, Listen & Learn sessions, and grant application webinars. Attending community resource fairs and events.

2) Housing Options.  Increase housing options and improve access to housing for all.  Communities are only as diverse as thier housing stock. Having housing options creates inclusive communities and supports economic development.

HOW: Developing programs to improve access including Downpayment assistance, Tenant Based Rental Assistance, affordable housing development, affordable housing preservation and rehabilitation, and eviction diversion.

3) Economic Opportunities Improve access to HUD contracting and economic development opportunities for minority and women business enterprises. Communities that have the ability to access economic opportunities will have resources to remain sustainable and to plan for growth.

HOW: Developing a W/MBE/Sec 3 Contracting plan and Microenterprise Program

We WILL Build initiative seeks to expand the range of opportunities for all by creating livable communities with diversity of housing stock in Will County.  Housing does more than provide shelter.  It provides stability, economic means, dignity, family ties and ultimately strengthens community.  Housing diversity in a community prevents homelessness, helps elderly residents age in place or downsize, helps divorced parents stay in close proximity to thier kids, allows for young adults to leave their parents' basements, prepares young families for establishing roots, and enables established families to raise engaged citizens.  Having diverse housing options and modern housing solutions inclusive of all lifestyles and incomes increases community resiliency and promotes economic development and prosperity. 

Join us on this quest to build inclusive communities in Will County by engaging in the conversation and connect with us on Facebook @buildwillcounty for updates.