Madison County Chairman Alan J. Dunstan, left, receives a plaque recognizing the 40th anniversary of participation in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Block Grant Program from Community Development Administrator Frank Miles.
EDWARDSVILLE — In 1975, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development created a program designed to provide grant funding to help county governments and communities with a wide range of development needs. The program became known as the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.
That same year the Madison County Board, under the leadership of Chairman Nelson Hagnauer, created Madison County Community Development and charged the department with the responsibility of administering the CDBG program.
In 2014, as the CDBG program celebrates its 40th anniversary – one of the longest continuously run programs at HUD – current Madison County Chairman Alan J. Dunstan called the program “an unequivocal success for Madison County and its residents.”
In the 40 years Madison County Community Development has been involved with the CDBG program, it has administered funds totaling more than $131.9 million.
“Those dollars have come back to Madison County from the federal government and have been important tools for helping local governments tackle serious issues, issues that would not be addressed without this source of funding,” Dunstan said. “The CDBG program has made a significant, positive difference in Madison County and in the lives of thousands of our residents.”
Dunstan said the CDBG program works hand in hand with Madison County’s economic development efforts.
“Block grants provide county government the necessary funding to attract new businesses and, importantly, retain existing businesses which effectively means jobs for our residents,” Dunstan said. “This program provides support for infrastructure projects, public safety, needed public services and many other programs throughout the county.”
Frank Miles, Madison County Community Development Administrator, said CDBG programs also enable the county to help improve the lives of low-and moderate-income residents by ensuring decent, affordable housing, and by providing needed services to the county’s most vulnerable residents.
“Utilizing the funds available through the CDBG program, Community Development is able to annually provide grants for decent housing, the creation of suitable living environments and create opportunities to expand economic opportunities for low- and moderate-income residents of the county,” Miles said.
Among the programs administered and, in many cases, implemented by Madison County Community Development are the HOME Program, the Partnership to End Homelessness, Low Income Home Energy Assistance, Illinois Housing Weatherization, Lead-Based Paint Hazard reduction, Emergency Food and Shelter, Rental Housing Support, and other programs. Information on these and other programs can be obtained by visiting the Madison County website at www.co.madison.il.us.
Miles said grants are used in ways to benefit the entire county.
“The department issues and administers grants to local government units for development activities, and through the Urban Development Action Grant (UDAG) program, one of the domestic programs initiated by President Jimmy Carter, we support communities that are experiencing severe economic stress through a low-interest, revolving infrastructure loan program,” Miles said. “Without the support of the Community Development department and funding through the UDAG program, many sewer and water lines would not be constructed and road improvement projects would not be started because the governmental bodies could not afford the projects on their own.”
The program provides low-interest financing, generally 3 percent for a seven-year loan, to communities for infrastructure projects that address economic development and/or health and safety issues.
In the 10-year period from 2004 to 2014, Madison County Community Development made 51 loans to municipalities and townships totaling more than $11.7 million.
“Those loans, in turn, helped fund infrastructure projects valued at more than $24 million,” Miles said.
The loan program has been utilized extensively throughout Madison County, funding firetrucks, water lines, sewer improvements, drainage projects, port projects, business parks, streetscapes and other projects that address economic development, and the health and safety needs of county residents.
Dunstan said it is important to note that before receiving grants from the federal or state government, Madison County Community Development must apply for the funds, submitting detailed plans on how the funds will be utilized.
“A great deal of thought and planning goes into the planning for how the funds would be utilized for the betterment of Madison County and its residents,” Dunstan said. “In Madison County, we take the management and spending of taxpayer money seriously and will not use those funds in any manner that will not help our residents and communities.”