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posted: 1/15/2013 8:15 PM

Arlington Heights discusses grant funding for service agencies

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The Arlington Heights village board on Monday heard from nearly 20 social service groups vying for a Community Block Development Grant money for 2013-14, but officials say they won't be able to fulfill every request.

The village received 19 requests for grant funding totaling $483,698, said Village Manager Bill Dixon. Based on estimates, officials expect to be able to fund about three-fourths of that.

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The village developed the estimate using last year's block grant amount, $242,730, in addition to carry-over and projected program income, but Dixon said that with the uncertainty in Washington, D.C., that amount could still change.

Representatives from many of the social service agencies addressed village trustees Monday, explaining their need for the money and whom it would serve, including homeless people, abused children and low-income families.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which provides the funding, has asked municipalities to phase out grants under $5,000 and especially grants under $1,000. Eliminating those would hurt local charities, village officials said, because many have small operating budgets and use the block grant money to get matching funds from other places.

As a result, some social service agencies are expected to receive slightly more funding than last year.

One such organization, Faith Community Homes, as been providing supportive housing services to low-income families with children in Arlington Heights for 10 years. Last year the group received $400 in block grant money, but this year the group requested, and the staff recommended, it receive $1,000.

"We need to send HUD a message from this board," said Trustee Joseph Farwell. "HUD people are out here hearing what we just heard. They don't see how matching funds can make or break places like Faith Community Homes."

Other groups receiving less than $5,000 could include Northwest Center Against Sexual Assault ($1,000); Children's Advocacy Center of North and Northwest Cook County ($2,000); Resources for Community Living ($2,000); Escorted Transportation Services ($2,000); Journeys The Road Home ($3,000); Women In Need Growing Stronger, or WINGS ($2,500); and an ESL program through Northwest Suburban High School District 214 Community Education ($1,500).

No new groups will be receiving funding, so requests from Countryside Association of People with Disabilities, Salvation Army and Cross and Crown Community Church won't be fulfilled.

A large amount of the grant money, $150,000, will go to fund debt service for the Arlington Heights Senior Center.

The plan agreed upon by the village board Monday will be public for 30 days and brought back for a second hearing and final vote March 4.

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