Many Naperville nonprofits are showing keen interest in the next round of locally administered grant funds.
The city’s yearly pre-application meeting for entities eligible to receive Community Development Block Grant and Social Service Grant support drew 41 people to the basement of the Municipal Center recently.
“That is over 35 percent increase from last year’s pre-application meeting,” Anna Straczek, the city’s grants coordinator, said in an email.
Many had questions about upcoming changes in the two programs, which will distribute about $1.1 million in the 2014 cycle to community organizations. The deadline for submitting grant requests from either source is Sept. 30.
Beginning in the 2015 round, applicants for social services funds will have to certify that their organizations comply with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Grant recipients also will be given the funds on a reimbursement basis.
“It means that grant recipient must accrue costs prior to submitting a request for payment from the city,” Straczek said. “Grant recipients can ask for reimbursement on a monthly basis and must provide documentation demonstrating their expenses.”
The City Council earlier this year agreed to expand the funding allocated for the social service grants, which focus on such areas as youth, seniors, emergencies and special-needs populations, by funneling $250,000 in local food and beverage tax receipts into the fund beginning in fiscal 2015.
Straczek said the total available that year will be $500,000. For next year, the council has earmarked an extra one-time $100,000.
The council, which this year provided an extra $50,000 for suicide and drug abuse prevention, will use much of the increased resources beginning in 2015 for efforts aimed at prevention of prescription drug abuse and community awareness and first-responder training related to mental health.
The federally funded CDBG program, which mostly supports local brick-and-mortar projects, was expected to take a funding hit as a result of cutbacks in Washington, D.C. However, the $430,399 provided in 2013 represented an increase of more than 3 percent over what was received for the previous year, and because some projects funded with CDBG disbursements this year have come in under budget, Straczek estimates that $800,000 will be available for the grants in program year 2014.
Using a statutory dual formula incorporating such measures of local need as poverty rates, population, housing age and overcrowding, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development determines the amount the city will receive for disbursement in CDBG grants. The city uses federal guidelines established by HUD to dole out the funds to organizations for public services, grant administration, public facilities, infrastructure improvements and housing programs, principally for low- and moderate-income persons.
Because they’re driven by assorted variables, the available sums vary from one year to the next. In a conversation with The Sun earlier this year, planning team leader Karyn Robles said requests for the funds have remained fairly consistent in recent years, but the stakes have risen as many of the applicants’ other sources of funding have dwindled.
“As opposed to, say, the cherry on top of the sundae, it’s more of an integral part of their funding,” Robles said.
Applications for the grants are being accepted until noon on Sept. 30 and can be mailed to Straczek at City of Naperville, Transportation, Engineering and Development Business Group, 400 S. Eagle St., Naperville, IL 60540. Applications also can be dropped off at the Development Services Counter on the first floor of the Municipal Center, 400 S. Eagle St. More information can be found at www.naperville.il.us/grants.aspx.