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Will County showcases local projects during Our Homes, Our Voices National Campaign
Anastasia Tuskey
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Will County showcases local projects during Our Homes, Our Voices National Campaign

Will County officials hosted a tour on May 30 for Congressman Bill Foster to showcase housing projects in several communities during the Our Homes, Our Voices National Housing Week of Action, May 30 – June 5. The Week of Action brings attention to the affordable housing crisis, the need for fair housing, and community reinvestments and partnerships.

“I am proud of Will County’s commitment to providing access to affordable housing for our residents,” said Will County Executive Larry Walsh. “Our Community Development Division does an excellent job ensuring affordable housing options. No one should have to choose between food and basic healthcare to keep a roof over their heads.”

In communities across the United States, low-income senior citizens, people with disabilities, veterans, and families with children struggle to stay in their homes or experience homelessness. The tour in Will County offered Foster an opportunity to see how these issues are being addressed on a local level with assistance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) HOME funding. Through this program, grants are available to local governments to implement housing strategies designed to increase affordable housing opportunities for low income Americans.

"It is vitally important for Will County that, as a minimum, we maintain current funding levels of CDBG (community development block grant) money,” said Denise Winfrey, speaker of the Will County Board. “Our rapidly increasing population creates a need for more housing of all types, but especially for our most vulnerable citizens. We want the children of our community to have stable homes."

The tour included a stop at the Cornerstone Services’ group home for boys with developmental disabilities. The group home was constructed with the assistance of federal funds
and helps fulfill Cornerstone’s mission of promoting choice, dignity, and the opportunity for people with disabilities to live and work in the community.

Another stop on the tour was to the Forest Park Community Center which received HUD CDBG funding for a roof replacement and other County funds for the development of a community garden that provides fresh food options to the onsite food pantry. The Center is critical in the community as housing costs comprise majority of most family budgets and little is left to purchase healthy food.

In 2018, advocates and Congressional champions secured a 10 percent increase to federal investments in affordable housing. President Trump’s budget threatens to slash affordable housing by $11 billion compared to current levels - a move that could increase homelessness and housing poverty across the nation.

“Affordable housing is critically important for Will County and our nation as a whole.” said Foster. “Instead of reducing investments in affordable housing, we should make a sustained commitment to ensure the safety and accessibility of affordable housing for those who need it most. We must reinvest in our communities and make certain that no one lives with the fear of being unable to keep a roof over their head.”

For more information about HUD programs, visit the website: www.hud.gov. For more information about housing and grant programs through the Will County Land Use Department, visit the website: www.willcountylanduse.com or follow www.facebook.com/buildwillcounty/




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