U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Office of Community Planning and Development

Consolidated Plan Contact


Aurora was founded as a railroad town and later became home to 140 factories. In the 1980s, Aurora lost many of its manufacturing jobs as factories closed or moved out of the area. Aurora is located in northeastern Illinois and has a population of 99,851.

Action Plan

In its 5-year Consolidated Plan, Aurora has described its housing and community development needs and funding resources. In the plan's first year, the city will use approximately $1.4 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds for 80 proposed projects. These projects include the rehabilitation of low-income and senior housing units, as well as improvement of parks and recreational facilities. The plan also will fund street improvements, youth services, and employment training.

Citizen Participation

An established public participation process, along with a citizens' advisory board that oversees CDBG funds, was used in developing the Consolidated Plan. Information gathered in previous surveys and at town meetings provided the basis and much of the content for the plan. Residents and representatives of social service agencies attended public meetings to give their input. Public notices advertising the times and purpose of the meetings were printed in the local newspaper. A public hearing on the draft plan was held in November 1994.


The 1980s was a time of significant change in Aurora. The city lost many moderate-income, blue-collar jobs in the early part of the decade as industries either moved or closed in response to the changing national economy. In the late 1980s, the city successfully attracted new businesses and new housing. Some of the growth came from a strengthening of the regional economy.

Aurora's population has grown steadily since 1950. Between 1980 and 1990, the population grew by 22 percent. All racial groups registered increases in population, according to census figures. In 1990 whites accounted for 74 percent of the population; Hispanics, 23 percent; and African Americans, 12 percent.

Even with the demise of many factories in Aurora, manufacturing was still the major source of employment in 1990. The full-time factory worker earned about an average of $27,200, according to census figures. Employment has grown significantly in the construction, wholesale, and retail trades. The newer service jobs such as retailing are lower-wage jobs. In 1990 10 percent of Aurora residents were classified as living below the poverty level. Almost half (45 percent) were under the age of 18. The majority of lower income families and individuals live in or around the city's center.


Market Conditions

The number of housing units in Aurora increased from 27,667 in 1980 to 35,621 in 1990. The new units were built in the outer ring of the city, while older neighborhoods lost dwelling units to fires or severe code violations. Loss of these older units decreased the supply of affordable housing.

Because of economic and population growth in the late 1980s, housing costs rose significantly. In 1985 the median cost of a residential unit was $58,460. By 1992 the median cost had risen to $85,391. To afford a median-cost home, an Aurora household would require an annual income of at least $23,470. About one-third of Aurora households earn less than $23,470.

Approximately 60 percent of Aurora's housing stock is owner occupied. Thirty-six percent is renter occupied and the remaining 4 percent is considered vacant. Ten percent of the housing units built between 1990 and 1992 were multifamily units. The rental prices ranged from $700 to $1,000 per month for a two-bedroom unit.

Affordable Housing Needs

Housing for extremely low-income households (those with incomes 0-30 percent of median family income, MFI) is limited to homeless shelters, living with family or friends, public or subsidized housing, institutional living, or housing units owned before falling into poverty. Most extremely low-income households that are homeowners are elderly. In many cases, extremely low-income homeowners need weatherization, rehabilitation assistance, fuel assistance, or other types of supportive housing programs.

Substandard conditions, overcrowding, and cost burdens are the predominant concerns of low-income households (those earning 51-80 percent of MFI). For moderate-income households (those earning 80-95 percent of MFI), cost burden and saving for a downpayment to purchase a home are the major challenges.

Forty-five percent of Aurora residents over age 65 own their own homes, 17 percent rent, and 9 percent live in institutional facilities. The city makes an effort to allow the frail elderly with special needs to live at home through programs such as Meals on Wheels, homemaker services, and youth chore services.

Persons who have physical disabilities, who are in drug or alcohol rehabilitation facilities, and persons with HIV/AIDS are among those who live in institutions or group homes in Aurora.

Homeless Needs

A point-in-time count of Aurora's homeless shelters in January 1994 found 11 homeless families (a total of 36 people) and 211 homeless individuals. Sixteen percent of those in the shelters were mentally ill, 59.5 percent had drug or alcohol problems, and 3.6 percent suffered from both mental illness and a drug or alcohol problem.

Aurora has recently implemented innovative changes to improve the delivery of services to the homeless, including networking with various agencies for health services, payment of entitlements; and transitional housing. Hesed House can accommodate a maximum of 120 persons and has a separate ward for women and children. Hesed House also operates the Transitional Living Community, a congregate facility with separate rooms for each family. Wayside Cross Rescue Mission can house 85 men and 18 women and children. The Salvation Army arranges for shelter at a local motel. In extreme weather, cots are set up at the YMCA.

Public and Assisted Housing Needs

The Aurora Housing Authority oversees 679 public housing units, including two senior/handicapped housing complexes, four multifamily sites, and 70 scattered-site units. There is a 3-year waiting list for public housing.

Barriers to Affordable Housing

Rising costs of land, construction, and mortgages have discouraged the construction of new affordable housing units in Aurora.

Lead-Based Paint

Because much of Aurora's housing stock was built before 1978, as many as 21,205 dwelling units may be affected by lead-based paint hazards.

Community Development Needs

The city's wholesale and retail trade and service industries are becoming the dominant forces in Aurora's economy. The city actively promotes Aurora as an attractive place to start a new business. However, older downtown buildings were not built to current standards and the rehabilitation costs make them less attractive to potential businesses.

In addition, many employers have expressed disappointment with the basic skills of high school graduates, their lack of mature attitudes toward work and career, and their ineffectiveness in communicating their needs and interests.

Aurora is replacing much of its aging infrastructure. In 1992 the city installed a new state-of-the-art water treatment plant. Between 1989 and 1992 the city spent about $5 million annually for infrastructure improvements such as street repairs, curb and sidewalk replacements, and storm sewer separation. City officials have spent $20 million in the past 2 years on additional infrastructure improvements.

Recent neighborhood meetings and surveys have shown that crime, drugs, youth problems, and housing are among the top concerns of citizens. A Kane County Needs Assessment report found services lacking in child care, domestic violence prevention and education, adult day care, and juvenile delinquency prevention. These services were lacking even though there are 220 human service agencies in the county.

The high-priority improvements needed in the community development and public service sectors are:


Housing Priorities

Aurora's strategy to increase the number of affordable housing units involves construction of senior living centers and renovating existing properties for starter homes and rental units. Aurora plans to complete two new senior centers, each with a minimum of 250 units, within the next 5 years. These centers will provide quality housing with additional amenities and services.

Rehabilitation of existing homes will increase the supply of affordable starter homes and rental units. Rehabilitation also will be used to ease overcrowding by converting homes to their original single-family use.

Along with making more affordable housing units available, the city will work on increasing the availability of financing. The city will continue its efforts to create innovative financing to assist low- and moderate-income families buy their first home.

Nonhousing Community Development Priorities

Because of its aging neighborhoods, Aurora has made the improvement and rehabilitation of its existing infrastructure a priority. The city will use CDBG funding for a variety of infrastructure projects in the next year. These include:

Aurora has emphasized the need to revitalize its downtown area. Many of the buildings were built around the turn of the century and must be renovated. To encourage downtown renovation, the city initiated the Facade Loan Program, which provides interest-free loans to downtown businesses for facade renovation.

Housing and Community Development Resources

Various State and local programs have been used to assist low-income households in Aurora. These programs include:

Antipoverty Strategy

In 1990, 4,620 youths in Aurora were living in poverty. Assisting these children is a fundamental component of Aurora's antipoverty strategy. Among the programs designed to assist children in poverty are:

Coordination of the Strategic Plan

Aurora's Department of Neighborhood Redevelopment is the lead agency in creating and implementing the city's Consolidated Plan. It encourages agencies to come together to improve delivery of programs and services. The Community Resource Team meets once a month to coordinate and share resources. Representatives of housing agencies and related services meet quarterly. The Youth Study Committee, consisting of members from city and youth service agencies, disburses city funds for youth services.


Description of Key Projects

During the first year of this plan, Aurora will use $1.4 million in CDBG funds, $167,902 in other funds, and $50,000 of program income to carry out more than 80 housing and community development projects that address the above needs. Some examples are:


MAP 1 depicts points of interest in the jurisdiction.

MAP 2 depicts points of interest and low-moderate income areas.

MAP 3 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and minority concentration levels.

MAP 4 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and unemployment levels.

MAP 5 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects.

MAP 6 depicts Neighborhood Segments and proposed HUD funded projects.

MAP 7 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects within one of the four neighborhoods indicated in MAP 6.

MAP 8 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects within another of the four neighborhoods indicated in MAP 6.

MAP 9 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded project(s) from a street level vantage point; in addition, a table provides information about the project(s).

To comment on Aurora's Consolidated Plan, please contact:

Shauna Wiet
Neighborhood Development Division
44 East Downer Street
Aurora, Illinois 60507
Phone: 708-844-3623
Fax: 708-892-0741

Return to Illinois' Consolidated Plans.