How would you spend $7 million to help local communities recover from widespread spring flooding?
That's the question DuPage County officials need to answer to get a disaster recovery grant from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development.
HUD officials this week announced that DuPage -- which had thousands of properties suffer flood damage in April -- will receive money through the federal agency's Community Development Block Grant Program.
"Last spring's storms caused tremendous damage to homes and businesses throughout the Chicago area, creating needs that stretched beyond the limits of private insurance and other forms of public assistance," HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said in a statement. "HUD is continuing to work closely with state and local partners to help them meet these remaining needs and promote locally driven recovery strategies."
The HUD grant would be above and beyond the millions of dollars in federal assistance that municipalities, libraries and other local governments in DuPage already are seeking to help pay their cleanup expenses. Cleaning up the aftermath of the April floods cost governmental entities throughout DuPage at least $6.58 million.
But before DuPage can get the $7 million from HUD, county officials said they must draft an "action plan" describing how they intend to spend the money. That can't happen until after HUD releases its guidelines on how the money can be spent.
"It's up to the county and municipalities to come up with a plan that fits whatever guidelines they give us," said David Gervino, emergency management coordinator for DuPage's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. "My understanding is that they will have very specific guidelines regarding what the plan entails."
DuPage officials didn't want to speculate on how they could use the money. However, they said, they intend to seek the grant.
"We'll work with (the county's) stormwater management (department), municipalities and other stakeholders to come up with plan," Gervino said.
DuPage isn't the only governmental entity eligible for HUD grant money. Chicago will receive $4.3 million; Cook County will receive $13.9 million; and the state will receive $3.6 million.