People facing the prospect of hunger and homelessness will receive the largest chunks of local aid under allocations for the annual grants proposed to the Naperville City Council this week.
Staff members laid out their recommendations for disbursing more than $828,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant funds, and the separate $500,000 in city money earmarked for social service needs.
The city provides annual grants through a comprehensive selection process for the CDBG funds, distributing the awards to help encourage suitable living environments and decent housing, as well as optimal economic opportunities, to low- and moderate-income residents.
Transportation team leader Karyn Robles said funding for the city’s CDBG grants will come from $400,000 in new federal money expected for the 2014 program year, along with $300,000 to be rolled over from previous grant cycles and $128,065 from reprogrammed activities.
The agencies named for top awards in this year’s CDBG round include Bridge Communities, the homelessness prevention nonprofit slated to receive $300,000 to help pay for building acquisition and roof repairs; Little Friends, chosen to receive $150,000 for housing for autistic and developmentally disabled adults; and the Northern Illinois Food Bank, recommended for an $85,000 award for improvements to the salvage, waste and recycling capabilities at its Geneva distribution center.
The federal grants will be subject to public commentary in January, and final council approval is expected in February.
The social services grants, which are supported by city funds, include some $105,000 added to address drug abuse prevention and mental health awareness in the community through several agencies. Among the top recommended recipients for the remaining social service grants are the Loaves & Fishes Community Pantry, pegged for $46,000, and Naperville CARES, in line for $38,000.
Councilman Doug Krause requested that an additional allocation be provided for Ecumenical Adult Care, which provides respite for caregivers and had been shut out in the staff recommendations. His council peers agreed to provide a $9,000 grant, so the final sums for Loaves & Fishes, KidsMatter and Samaritan Interfaith Counseling Center each will likely be cut by $3,000. KidsMatter initially was recommended for $47,000, and Samaritan for $30,000.
Janet Derrick, CARES’ executive director, said the funds advocated for her agency will help provide rental and utility assistance to keep families from becoming homeless, if the City Council approves the allocations at an upcoming meeting.
“If staff is recommending it, that’s a big first hurdle,” Derrick said.