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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 6, 2005

Gov. Blagojevich announces nearly $170,000 in Emergency Shelter Grants to expand essential services for homeless in Aurora and Joliet

CHICAGO – Continuing his efforts to assist people across Illinois and especially those most often left behind, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced grants totaling nearly $170,000 to support emergency shelters and non-profits that serve homeless and near-homeless people in Aurora and Joliet. The state’s support comes through the Emergency Shelter Grant Program, one of the Governor’s key initiatives designed to help local communities provide critical assistance to their poor and underserved populations.

"There are many in our world who need a helping hand on their journey to a brighter tomorrow, and it’s important to provide this support, especially when it comes to a shelter over a family’s head," Gov. Blagojevich said. "While those who are homeless or struggling to make a decent living often get pushed to the fringes in our society, it is our obligation to nurture our struggling friends and neighbors to a path of financial stability­. Shelters in Aurora, Joliet and across Illinois work diligently to do this each and every day."

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) administers the Emergency Shelter Grant Program from funding provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The support enables community-based organizations to rehabilitate, renovate and operate emergency shelters, as well as provide essential services for the homeless and prevention assistance to those at risk of homelessness. Funding is available to units of general local government on behalf of not-for-profit organizations and directly to not-for-profit organizations through a competitive grant application process.

"We can make real inroads at reducing this area’s homeless population through expanding critical services at the community level. Through Gov. Blagojevich’s support, the grants being provided to these non-profit organizations will strengthen the tremendous work they are doing and help restore lost opportunity to those most in need," said State Senator Arthur "A.J." Wilhelmi (D-Crest Hill).

"Gov. Blagojevich is addressing homelessness using the same strategic approach he does in promoting economic development: partnering with those who are most heavily invested in the community and best equipped to effectively deliver resources at the ground level. Programs like these in Aurora and Joliet improve the quality of life in our community," State Representative Linda Chapa LaVia (D-Aurora) said.

"Community organizations like these that provide critical services to our homeless population and those most in need play an instrumental role in making this area a great place to live and work. Through this grant program, Gov. Blagojevich is ensuring that these organizations will have the necessary resources to continue making a positive impact in so many lives," said State Representative Jack McGuire (D-Joliet).

Organizations in the Northeast region who will receive funding include:

Organization City Amount

P.A.D.S., Inc. Aurora $56,000

Christian Family Ministries Joliet $48,600

Guardian Angel Home Joliet $10,000

Morning Star Mission Joliet $53,200

Program funds may be used to implement one or more of the following activities:

Rehabilitation, renovation or conversion of buildings for use as emergency shelters;

New or expanded essential services provided by the not-for-profit organization in connection with direct services such as job training, substance abuse counseling, health and educational services;

Homelessness prevention activities, such as short-term subsidies to help cover the cost of rent and utility expenses, security deposits or first month's rent, or other innovative programs and activities designed to prevent homelessness; and,

Operation or maintenance expenses directly related to the emergency shelter.

"Gov. Blagojevich will continue making investments that make a tangible difference by providing vital resources to local communities. Homeless shelters in Aurora and Joliet will be able to provide better care for those who are struggling, so their clients can stay dry and warm until the tide turns and they find a sustainable income," DCEO Director Jack Lavin said.



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