Lake County to share $2.4 million with community groups to help residents, businesses

 
 
Updated 5/8/2020 7:51 PM

Lake County officials plan to use more than $2.4 million in federal relief funds to help financially struggling residents pay rent, support emergency business loans and provide other assistance during the COVID-19 crisis.

Officials this week announced the county is set to receive the cash through the CARES Act, established in late March to ease urgent needs related to the pandemic.

 

Of the $2.4 million sum, about $1.7 million will reach Lake County via a federal community development grant program, documents indicate. Additionally, more than $777,000 will come from a federal emergency solutions grant program.

If the county board approves the plan next week, the emergency solutions grant will be used to help people quickly get or keep shelter or medium-term housing. Funding would go to PADS Lake County, A Safe Place and Catholic Charities, and the county would keep a portion for its administration of the grants.

Likewise, nearly $1.6 million of the community development grants would be used to support rental assistance, provide housing-related legal services, buy goods for local food pantries, fund emergency loans for small businesses, and support a phone system that provides health and social service information to people in need.

The beneficiaries of those funds would be the Northern Illinois Food Bank, Catholic Charities, Community Action Partnership, Community Partners for Affordable Housing, Prairie State Legal Services, the North Shore Legal Aid Clinic, United Way of Lake County's 211 service and the Black Chamber of Commerce.

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Again, the county would keep a portion to cover its administrative costs.

Officials also plan to reallocate nearly $89,000 in federal funding that had been earmarked for an affordable housing program that helps homeowners rehabilitate their properties. Instead, the money will help fund down payments for homes by low-income buyers.

The county board will vote on the grants Tuesday as an amendment to the county's annual U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department action plan.

The 9 a.m. meeting, to be held remotely because of the statewide stay-at-home order, will be streamed live on the internet at lakecounty.tv and aired on some local cable stations.

Only one county board member, Round Lake Beach Republican Dick Barr, has publicly opposed the proposal. Barr, a real estate agent, objects to the county funding legal services for tenants, saying the county shouldn't pick sides in legal squabbles between tenants and landlords.

During a committee-of-the-whole discussion of the issue Friday, Barr said he'll propose amending the description of programs to be funded to include mediation rather than legal services. Other county board members have publicly supported the inclusion of legal services.

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