HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD Region V No. 11-176
Laura J. Feldman
(312) 913-8332
For Release
December 5, 2011

Oak Park, Ill. receives nearly $3 million

CHICAGO - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan recently announced the recipients of the 2011 Sustainable Communities Grants, totaling over $97 million. Twenty seven communities and organizations will receive Community Challenge grants and 29 regional areas will receive Regional Planning grants. The goal of the Sustainable Communities grants is to help communities and regions improve their economic competitiveness by connecting housing with good jobs, quality schools and transportation. At a press conference on Saturday attended by Gov. Pat Quinn, Sen. Dick Durbin and Rep. Danny Davis, Antonio R. Riley, HUD's Midwest Regional Administrator announced the award of a Sustainable Communities Challenge Grant of nearly three million to Oak Park and the West Cook County Housing Collaborative (see below for grant summary). Previously, Riley announced a Community Challenge Grant Award of nearly $300,000 to Freeport, Ill.

"Our nation's ability to compete in a global economy and create jobs is dependent upon how quickly and efficiently we can connect our workers and families to education and employment opportunities." said HUD Secretary Donovan. "This year we are especially proud that we had a particular focus on funding proposals that included more chambers of commerce and economic development corporations as core partners. These grants will be leveraged with local funds more than doubling the investment and, helping to create new visions for how communities and regions plan for housing, transportation, workforce development and the quality of life of their residents for generations to come. When 52% of the average working family's income is devoted to housing and transportation costs alone, we know that we have a responsibility to fix that and to provide housing and transportation options that can improve their quality of life and economic stability," he added.

"Oak Park and the West Cook County Collaborative are using new tools to solve old problems and the result is a dynamic initiative to promote sustainability at the local neighborhood level and increase involvement of residents and the business community in the planning process," said Riley. "The Collaborative has the right partners, the right approach and the right vision for success."

"Focusing our foreclosure mitigation efforts on creating affordable home ownership near public transportation is the economically smart thing to do. It reduces the housing/transportation cost expense for working families and it connects people to jobs," said Joe Neri, CEO of IFF, the nonprofit lender and real estate consultant coordinating the efforts of the Collaborative. "We are proud to be selected as part of HUD's Sustainable Communities Program, and we are grateful to HUD and the State of Illinois for their strong support of the work of the West Cook County Housing Collaborative."

"When the mayors came together three years ago to talk about intergovernmental collaboration around housing issues, it was clear we shared a belief in a unique opportunity to position not just our individual communities, but our entire region for thoughtful, economic gain," said Oak Park Village President David Pope. "We are extremely grateful for the support of the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity that is reflected in these grants. We look forward to a continuing partnership to address critical housing issues facing our communities, our state and our nation."

HUD's Community Challenge Grants aim to reform and reduce barriers to achieving affordable, economically vital and sustainable communities. The funds are awarded to communities, large and small, to address local challenges to integrating transportation and housing. Such efforts may include amending or updating local master plans, zoning codes, and building codes to support private sector investment in mixed-use development, affordable housing and the re-use of older buildings. Other local efforts may include retrofitting main streets to provide safer routes for children and seniors, or preserving affordable housing and local businesses near new transit stations.

The Regional Planning Grant program encourages grantees to support regional planning efforts that integrate housing, land-use, economic and workforce development, transportation, and infrastructure developments in a manner that empowers regions to consider how all of these factors work together to create more jobs and economic opportunities. The program will place a priority on partnerships, including the collaboration of arts and culture, philanthropy, and innovative ideas to the regional planning process. Recognizing that areas are in different stages of sustainability planning, HUD has established two categories for the Regional Planning Grant program. The first supports communities that are beginning the conversation about how best to align their housing, transportation, environment, and other infrastructure investments. The second recognizes that some communities have already achieved significant momentum and are prepared to move toward completion and implementation of regional plans for sustainable development.

As was the case last year, the demand for both programs far exceeded the available funding. This year HUD received over $500 million in funding requests from communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico for the $96 million in available funding. This year's grants will impact 45.8 million Americans by helping their communities and regions become more efficient and competitive while improving quality of life. Combined with the 87 grants funded last year, this program is providing opportunities for the more than 133 million Americans who live in regions and communities working to shape local plans for how their communities will grow and develop over the next 50 years.

This year's grantees continue to reflect a diverse group of states, regions and communities that believe in sustainability. Grants were awarded in the states of Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Washington and Wyoming.

Community Challenge Grants and Regional Planning Grants are also significantly complimented and leveraged by local, state and private resources. This year, HUD's investment of $95.8 million is garnering $115 million in matching and in-kind contributions - which is over 120% of the Federal investment - from the 56 selected grantees. This brings to total public and private investment for this round of grants to over $211 million. These grants are part of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, which is represents an association between HUD, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to ensure that the agencies' policies, programs, and funding consider affordable housing, transportation, and environmental protection together. This interagency collaboration gets better results for communities and uses taxpayer money more efficiently.

Coordinating federal investments in infrastructure, facilities and services meets multiple economic, environmental, and community objectives with each dollar spent. The Partnership is helping communities across the country to create more housing choices, make transportation more efficient and reliable, reinforce existing investments, and support vibrant and healthy neighborhoods that attract businesses.

"The demand for sustainability grants is very high; we would have needed $500 million to fund all proposals we received this year." said HUD Office of Sustainable Housing Communities (OSHC) Director, Shelley Poticha. "We are confident that the mix of rural and urban proposals that we selected this year will have a great impact in their communities and will create nearly 2,000 jobs."

Oak Park Community Challenge Grant Award

The Village of Oak Park, as part of a coalition of suburban communities, will be awarded $2,916,272 for the West Cook County Transit Oriented Development Strategy. The West Cook County Housing Collaborative (The "Collaborative") is in its third year of existence and consists of five West Cook suburban communities immediately adjacent to the City of Chicago. The Collaborative's efforts will create or update existing comprehensive plans for the five communities, allowing them to revisit outdated zoning and infrastructure plans that are impediments to transit-oriented, affordable housing development. The Collaborative will also create an acquisition/ predevelopment fund to support affordable housing, preservation and development near transit stops in the five communities.

Anticipated Project Benefits: Increased engagement of residents and the business community in planning processes Comprehensive plans for suburban communities that coordinate with Chicago Metropolitan Area Planning's Go to 2040 regional plan to support implementation

By using a transit-oriented development strategy, residents of all five communities will have more transportation choices Increase the amount of affordable housing in each community by providing low-interest loans or equity contributions to support the development Planning activities will include developing a strategy for implementing energy efficiency measures for new and existing, affordable housing and commercial buildings, with grants made to support the strategy eventually identified.

Funding Amount: $2,916,272

Core Partners: West Cook County Housing Collaborative (WCCHC), Chicago Metropolitan
Agency for Planning (CMAP), Bellwood, Berwyn, Forest Park, Maywood, Oak Park, IFF, Metropolitan Planning Council, Metropolitan Mayor's Caucus, CMAP, Voorhees Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago.


HUD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at and You can also follow HUD on Twitter at @HUDnews or on Facebook at, or sign up for news alerts on HUD's News Listserv.


Content Archived: August 19, 2013