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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 13, 2005

GOV. BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES MORE THAN $1.5 MILLION IN OPPORTUNITY RETURNS GRANTS FOR CENTRAL REGION HOUSING REHABILITATION PROJECTS

CHICAGO – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced more than $1.5 million in funding for the rehabilitation of 58 owner occupied homes throughout the Central region.  These home improvements will drastically enhance the living environments and quality of life for low-income and disabled Central region residents, as well as building the capacity for economic growth.  This aggressive effort to improve living conditions for the region’s most underserved residents is part of the Governor’s Opportunity Returns initiative, his comprehensive, pro-active strategy for restoring economic opportunity to the Central region.
 
“Creating greater economic opportunity begins with strengthening the core foundation of our communities.  By providing these Opportunity Returns grants, communities throughout the Central region will be able to make essential improvements to homes that need them the most, building economic capacity on a local level and enhancing the economic portfolio of the entire region,” Gov. Blagojevich said.
 
The funds for this initiative are part of the Community Development Assistance Program (CDAP), a federally-funded grant program that assists Illinois communities by providing grants to local governments to help them in financing economic development, public facilities and housing rehabilitation projects. The program is targeted to assist low-to-moderate income people by creating job opportunities and improving the quality of their living environment. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) administers the program.
 
“So often we see money invested into revitalizing business districts or old industrial sites, but rarely are resources invested in revitalizing residential neighborhoods to make them a stronger and more secure place to live. Through this housing grant program, Gov. Blagojevich is doing exactly that, and our communities will become better places to live and work because of it,” State Senator Deanna Demuzio (D-Carlinville) said.
 
“By revamping these 58 individual homes throughout the area, this housing grant program is really revitalizing our entire community.  Gov. Blagojevich understands that any economic development plan with real muscle must work at the community level, and these housing grants are a great illustration of that idea at work,” State Representative Gary Hannig (D-Gillespie) said.
 
 
Governor Blagojevich has developed the following objectives for the CDAP program:
 
·        Strengthen community economic development through the creation of jobs, stimulation of private investment and strengthening the tax base
 
·        Improvement of public infrastructure and elimination of conditions which are detrimental to health, safety and public welfare; and
 
·        Conservation and expansion of the state's housing stock in order to provide a decent home and a suitable living environment for persons of low-to-moderate income and the developmentally disabled.
 
These CDAP grants being provided to the Central region fall under the third objective.  They are designed to help provide safe and sanitary living conditions for low-to-moderate income residents. 
 
The Central region’s housing improvements are as follows:
                                                                                   

 

LOCATION                                       DESCRIPTION                                           COST

 
Village of Brighton                                               Rehabilitate 15 owner occupied homes   $376,000              
Macoupin
 
City of Gillespie                                                    Rehabilitate 15 owner occupied homes   $376,000                         
Macoupin                     
 
City of Mount Olive                                            Rehabilitate 15 owner occupied homes     $375,900
Macoupin
 
City of Pana                                                          Rehabilitate 13 owner occupied homes   $375,900
Christian
 
                                                                                                                                                           Total: $1,503,800
“Gov. Blagojevich believes that a grassroots approach to economic development is the only one that truly works, and the Opportunity Returns grants we’re providing to the Central region are a textbook example of that grassroots approach in action.  These grants will fund critical improvements in nearly 60 homes.  Time and again, we’re seeing that community revitalization efforts such as these make business attraction, retention and job creation much more viable,” DCEO Director Jack Lavin said.
 
Gov. Blagojevich’s Opportunity Returns regional economic development strategy is the most aggressive, comprehensive approach to creating jobs in Illinois’ history.  Since a one-size-fits-all approach to economic development just doesn’t work, the Governor has divided the state into 10 regions – each with a regional team that is empowered and expected to rapidly respond to opportunities and challenges.  Opportunity Returns is about tangible, specific actions to make each region more accessible, more marketable, more entrepreneurial and more attractive to businesses.  It is about upgrading the skills of the local workforce, increasing the access to capital, opening new markets, improving infrastructure, and creating and retaining jobs.  Opportunity Returns is about successfully partnering with companies and communities, both large and small, to help all of Illinois reach its economic potential.


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