Decatur's Consolidated Plan outlines the use of approximately $1,863,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds and $599,000 of HOME Investment Partnership (HOME) funds for the fiscal year beginning May 1, 1995, to address housing and homeless needs.
Citizens were invited to participate in public meetings at four sites in October 1994, to discuss consolidated plan issues. Preliminary copies of the Consolidated Plan were available from February 15, 1995, to March 17, 1995. A public hearing was held March 1, 1995.
Decatur has 37,470 year-round housing units; 5,940 are one bedroom units, 13,276 are two bedroom units, and 18,254 are three or more bedroom units. Of the total 22,405 units are owner-occupied. These units tend to have more bedrooms than the 11,608 rental units. The number of rental units with one bedroom is 4,225; 4,856 units have two bedrooms; and 2,527 units have three or more bedrooms.
Some dwelling units constructed during the early development periods of the city were of modest construction. These small wood-frame units in many instances have begun to deteriorate. Rehabilitating these early dwellings could be a waste of time, money, and effort. During periods of street and highway construction, front yards were acquired for street right of ways. This acquisition has resulted in deteriorating housing conditions. Programs that either acquire and redevelop or rehabilitate housing in these areas is warranted. During the past three years average costs to rehabilitate rental units in the city's rental rehabilitation program was $20,153.
In the mid-1980s, economic conditions created the need for low-cost affordable housing. Homes in the lower price ranges of the residential housing sector were intensively used. Some of this resulted in housing deterioration. There are also concentrations of rental property in the community which are thought to contribute to housing decline. A balanced mix of rental and owner units and programs may be a useful tool to promote high-quality housing and neighborhood conditions.
In July 1991 there were 550 residential properties on the market. Of that total, 27 percent were priced under $30,000. There were 132 homes for sale (24 percent) costing between $50,000 and $90,000 . There were 40 units on the market from $90,000 to $120,000; furthermore, this price range has a tight market. At that time, the average selling price for a two-bedroom home was $28,440. For a three-bedroom home the average price was $57,382, and a four-bedroom home cost $92,758.
The number of lots available for moderately-priced new construction is limited. Lots in the $7,500 to $10,000 range are concentrated in only four subdivisions.
According to the 1990 census 9 percent of the housing stock was vacant. Decatur's vacancy rate for rental units was 12 percent. The vacancy rate suggests there is a surplus of rental housing although the market is markedly tighter than in past years. The owner vacancy rate was 2 percent in 1994.
In 1990 the median gross rent was $339 per month, up 19 percent from $285 in 1980. A quarter of all rental units were under $250 per month.
About 62 percent of very low-income renters and 35 percent of very low-income owners in Decatur have housing problems. Among the very low-income elderly 41 percent of renters and 27 percent of owners have housing problems. About 18 percent of low-income households and 7 percent of moderate-income households have at least one housing problem, usually excess housing costs.
Additional supportive facilities and services are required to serve the needs of elderly, the disabled, and victims of AIDS. The existing facilities cannot serve all those that request special services. More affordable housing for these groups is needed; clients needing special assistance are either able to work in sheltered work environments or not at all.
Homeownership for senior citizens is becoming a greater challenge. Citizens living on fixed incomes are increasingly challenged to maintain a dwelling unit with rising costs for utilities, maintenance and repair, and insurance. Rental options for low- and very low-income people are limited. Affordability remains the most serious problem for low- and very low-income renters.
Homeownership for low- and very low-income people will remain a worthy goal but difficult to attain. Supportive services including basic education, job training, child care, transportation support, credit counseling, and financial planning are vital elements in promoting homeownership for lower-income people. There is some belief that realtors are unwilling to work with clients in market segments below $30,000. Programs that would provide incentives and greater commitment on the part of realtors to this client group would foster greater homeownership. Lenders, too, are reluctant to lend on homes that cost below $30,000. Closer monitoring of Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) responsibilities for lending in this market segment may produce greater commitment to the lower-priced segment.
The Decatur Coordinating Council on Homelessness, consisting of government and private social agencies, estimates there are at least 250 homeless persons in the Decatur area and another 1,939 people who are at imminent risk of becoming homeless. The city has six agencies that provide shelter for the homeless. A seventh shelter will be open in the next few months and an eighth is planned. The total capacity for all the existing shelters combined is 95 people. One shelter houses women and children who are victims of domestic violence and another is specifically designed for people with HIV/AIDS.
A number of services are available to the homeless and people at risk in Decatur. Some of the services include free meals, financial assistance, energy assistance, and referrals for housing, medical, furniture, and clothing needs.
The Decatur Housing Authority (DHA) has a total of 875 public housing units. Of this total, 390 are efficiencies or one-bedroom units, 276 are two-bedroom units, and 209 are three-or-more-bedroom units. The general condition of the housing is good, and the vacancy rate is 13 percent.
There are approximately 1,311 units of Section 8 inventory including 699 existing certificates, 132 vouchers, 100 mod rehab units, and 380 in new construction projects. DHA does not expect any units of Section 8 housing to be lost from inventory because of prepayment, termination of Federal assistance, or any other reason.
Public policies from Decatur's statutes, ordinances, regulations, and administrative procedures affect the return on residential investment that influence the provision of affordable housing including land use controls, subdivision codes, zoning ordinances, building codes, and permit fees.
The city will affirmatively further fair housing, prepare an analysis of impediments, and maintain records pertaining to carrying out this certification.
Almost 73 percent of available housing units in Decatur were built before 1979. As many as 22,537 structures could contain lead-based paint. It is estimated that 11,766 very low-income and 6,715 low-income individuals live in structures with lead-based paint hazards. The Macon County Health Department reported that 100 of the 1,025 kindergartners tested for elevated levels of lead by September 1993 showed some exposure to lead. Approximately 50 homes were identified where children had seriously elevated blood-lead levels over 30 micrograms per deciliter. Most of those homes were located in the inner-city area.
The Health Department and the Community Health Improvement Center work with the families of lead poisoned children to reduce the risk of these hazards. The Health Department educates its clients on lead hazards and on proper nutrition for children, good housekeeping practices, and current regulations for lead paint abatement.
The city has identified three priorities:
When residents were surveyed and asked to respond to the statement "This community is an ideal place to live," 43 percent responded negatively, 34 percent agreed and 20 percent had no opinion. When asked how they rate the quality of life in Decatur, 59 percent were in some measure satisfied with the qualify of life, and 25.9 percent were either somewhat or extremely dissatisfied.
Safety and jobs were among the concerns of the lowest-income respondents (between $5,000 and$10,000 a year). Concern was expressed regarding racial tension, education, and the natural environment. Among the $15,000 to $25,000 income group, an agenda highlighting safety, schools, and jobs was evident. Increased concern over government leadership, pollution, and racial tension also emerged as important to this group.
The planning process for this consolidated plan identified the following community development needs as priorities:
Most of the programs are designed to benefit the very low-income households at a minimum. Homeownership programs are targeted to low-income households. Supportive services including job training, financial planning, and credit counseling are considered prerequisites for these programs.
Priority 1: Increase the supply of safe, sanitary, decent housing for small-family and renter very low-income households. The city expects to improve 150 units of rental housing within the next 5 years.
Priority 2: Increase the supply and quality of safe, sanitary, decent public housing for very low-income households. Decatur hopes to improve 600 to 800 units of publicly owned rental housing within the next 5 years.
Priority 3: Improve the affordability of rental housing for small and large families. Decatur wants to maintain the existing number of Section 8 certificates and increase the number by 350.
Priority 4: Provide home ownership opportunities for low-income people by providing mortgage assistance for 75 households in the next 5 years.
Priority 5: Provide homebuyer's assistance to increase the ability of low-income renters to become home buyers. The city plans to provide credit counseling and financial planing making 200 families financially capable of home ownership within the next 5 years.
Priority 6: Improve the condition of housing for existing very low-income homeowners by rehabilitating 1,175 units of owner-occupied housing in the next 5 years.
Priority 7: Increase the number of affordable new ownership housing units for low-income families by constructing 15 to 20 new units.
Priorities 8 through 11 address needs of the needs of the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless.
Priorities 12 through 14 involve desinstitutionalization of developmentally disabled persons.
Priorities 15 through 17 support independent living for the mentally ill.
Priority 19 accommodates the physically disabled through creation of 30 units of handicapped accessible housing.
Priorities 20 through 23 aim to provide supportive networks for persons recovering from substance abuse, to persons with AIDS, and to runaways and abandoned youth.
The following community development needs are identified as priorities:
In addition to Federal CDBG, HOME, Homeownership and Opportunities for People Everywhere (HOPE), and Emergency Shelter Grant (ESG) funds, Decatur plans to use State emergency food and shelter and domestic violence programs, the Illinois Affordable Housing Trust Fund, and local funds to carry out its plan. Decatur also expects that about $1 million from private resources including financial institutions, the Decatur Mental Health Center Rent Revenue, and Habitat for Humanity will help carry out the plan.
The city of Decatur through its Community Development Department was the lead agency responsible for the preparation and submission of the Consolidated Plan. The city will continue to meet regularly with all participants in an effort to make Decatur a better community. It will hold semi-annual meetings to help city staff better understand community needs and will address those needs through an annual action plan. The city will form partnerships with nonprofit organizations such as the Community Investment Corporation and designated community housing development organizations to encourage the development and maintenance of affordable housing.
Actions planned during the first year of the plan include 30 projects using $2,462,000 in CDBG and HOME funds citywide:
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 is a map, sectioned by neighborhood, which depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, 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; as well as, provides a table with information about the project(s).
Neighborhood Services Manager
1 Gary K. Anderson Plaza
Decatur, Illinois 62523-1196