Where federal housing grants are going in suburbs
Several suburban public housing agencies, including those in Aurora, Waukegan, and Cook and Lake counties, will each receive more than $1 million in federal funding to improve facilities serving low-income families and seniors.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has granted more than $2.7 billion to housing authorities nationwide; Illinois agencies have been awarded roughly $138 million. That includes about $64.7 million to Chicago, roughly $1.5 million each to Aurora and Lake County, and more than $1.1 million each to Cook County and Waukegan.
Suburban recipients include Oak Park ($266,644), North Chicago ($176,534), and McHenry County ($51,885).
The money will be used to build, repair, renovate and/or modernize public housing facilities. Agencies can complete large-scale improvements, such as replacing roofs and making energy-efficient upgrades to replace old plumbing and electrical systems.
A 2011 housing study found the nation's 1.1 million public housing units needed an estimated $25.6 billion in improvements.
Aurora has 502 public housing units, including 59 scattered sites of houses and duplexes as well as five apartment complexes -- Centennial House, Eastwood, Indian Trail, Maple Terrace and Southwind.
"We are still finalizing our plans for all of our sites," Executive Director Ralph Jordan said. "This funding will help us in our future revitalization and redevelopment efforts to provide more affordable housing opportunities for the city of Aurora."
The Aurora Housing Authority receives more than $1 million yearly in HUD funding. This latest grant will be added to the agency's capital fund, which has a couple of million dollars in it already.
"We are going to use that to modernize a few of our family sites," Jordan said.
That includes interior and exterior rehab work at Indian Trail, which has 36 units, and interior upgrades at Southwind, which has 34 units. New kitchens, bathrooms, flooring, painting and interior doors are on the list of upgrades.
The Lake County Housing Authority maintains 332 apartments developed for seniors and people with disabilities. The HUD funding is slated to spruce up two senior housing sites -- Warren Manor in Gurnee and possibly Hawley Manor in Grayslake.
Those sites serve about 50 seniors each. Workers will replace siding, windows and make doors compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act at Warren, and if there's money left, they'll repair the roof and replace siding at Hawley, Executive Director Lorraine Hocker said.
Any remaining funds will go toward needed capital improvements identified in the agency's five-year action plan, Hocker said.
"We're addressing any outstanding issues with our buildings and just trying to maintain decent, safe and sanitary affordable units for all our residents," she said.