CHICAGO – In response to the President’s proposed federal budget, Gov. Rod Blagojevich today voiced his opposition to eliminating the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. CDBG provides crucial funds to the state and directly to 47 counties and communities across Illinois, and are used for economic development, housing, public infrastructure, and critical social service programs, such as senior centers, day care programs and homeless shelters.
“As Governor of Illinois, I am committed to creating economic opportunities throughout this state using every available resource,” wrote the Governor. “The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program has been a fundamental tool in our efforts and must be maintained. I urge you to restore the program and maintain funding at current levels so we may continue our successful economic development activities.”
The state CDBG program directs the funds for three imperative purposes: infrastructure investment, business development and home rehabilitation. In 2004, the state program invested more than $33 million in projects around the state. The program assisted 101 Illinois communities with more than 66,000 residents with funding for improvements to their water, sanitary or storm water systems.
The state of Illinois also uses CDBG to improve infrastructure for businesses that are relocating or expanding. In 2004, 13 businesses were assisted which created or retained more than 1,000 jobs. Illinois also uses CDBG to provide housing rehabilitation to low income homeowners in small and rural communities. In 2004, 313 homes in 27 communities were rehabilitated to address health and safety issues, and, where appropriate, accessibility issues for people with disabilities.
“In 2004, every CDBG dollar Illinois invested in infrastructure and housing spurred more than three dollars of other public and private investment,” the Governor said. “This yielded more than $109 million in additional dollars for Illinois communities.
“As a former governor you know the importance of continued investment in public infrastructure and private enterprise,” wrote the Governor. “Illinois has used the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program to maximum effect to leverage private investment and grow our economy. I urge you to restore the Community Development Block Grant program and maintain funding so Illinois can continue to make these vital economic investments.”