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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 25, 2005

GOV. BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES $750,000 IN FUNDING TO HELP LOCAL COMMUNITIES REHABILITATE HOMES OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

CHICAGO – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that $750,000 in funding is now available to be used to enhance the living environments of disabled residents across the state. This aggressive effort comes as part of the Governor’s Opportunity Returns initiative, his comprehensive, pro-active strategy for restoring economic opportunity throughout Illinois.

"The fundamental goal of Opportunity Returns is to create more widespread economic opportunity across this state so individuals have the tools they need to build a better life for themselves and their families. Opportunity begins with access. Whether it is access to education, job training, health care, or simply to and from your own living environment, we will continue working aggressively at the community level to remove any barriers that limit access to opportunity. By providing this funding to improve the homes of disabled residents across Illinois, we’re making another important stride toward accomplishing that goal," Gov. Blagojevich said.

The housing improvement funding will come from the Community Development Assistance Program (CDAP) Mobility and Accessibility Rehabilitation Services (MARS) component, administered by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. The program provides grants to local communities who have applied for funding on behalf of disabled residents. The grant funds are then used to cover the costs of rehabilitating those disabled residents’ homes. Eligible projects include general rehabilitation and structural modifications to make the home accessible and accommodate the needs of the disabled resident.

Individual grants may be funded up to $100,000 for these rehabilitation projects. Local communities eligible to receive CDAP funding may apply throughout the year until all funds have been exhausted. CDAP staff will provide pre-applications to units of government upon receipt of written requests that identify eligible families or individuals in need of assistance.

"This program is a great example of how innovative partnerships between state and local government can accomplish key objectives that make an immediate and tangible impact in individual lives. A comprehensive economic development strategy goes beyond business attraction and workforce training, it should strive to strengthen communities and help individuals build a path to upward mobility. By improving the living environments of disabled residents across Illinois, Gov. Blagojevich is doing exactly that," DCEO Director Jack Lavin said

The Community Development Assistance Program (CDAP) 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.

Gov. 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.

Requests for pre-applications should be sent to: DCEO, CDAP Housing Unit, 620 E. Adams - CIPS3, Springfield, IL 62702. Applications will be available throughout the year, as long as funds are available. Questions regarding this program should be directed to Tim Call, Housing Programs Manager, at 217/558.2833, tcall@ildceo.net or Denis Cherrier at 217/558.2840, dcherrier1@ildceo.net.

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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