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

Consolidated Plan Contact


The City of Kankakee, Illinois, is located about 60 miles south of Chicago. The Kankakee River, one of the state's cleanest and primary recreation attraction, runs through the City. Its primary industries are light manufacturing and distribution.

Action Plan

The City of Kankakee Consolidated Plan presents a strategic vision for housing and community development. It includes a One-Year Action Plan for utilizing CDBG, HOME Investment Partnership Program, Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control, and program income funds. These funds will primarily be spent on housing and community development activities that enhance the quality of neighborhood life.

Citizen Participation

The Citizen Participation Plan for the City of Kankakee was written with the intention of having the widest possible readership. The general goal of this Citizen Participation Plan is to stimulate, encourage, and record the largest amount of public participation possible as the Community Development programs are developed, managed, and evaluated. As part of this process, the Community Development Agency formed a Mayor's Advisory Committee with representatives from the low and moderate income residents of target areas and representatives of organizations which serve the target population.

Several public hearings were held early in the Strategic and Consolidated Plan development process, beginning in March, 1994. A special effort was made to broaden citizen participation in the development process. In addition to the required legal notice of the public hearing in the local newspaper, public hearing notices were sent to all known organizations and agencies involved in the provision of housing-related social services, and non-housing community development and the City issued a press release about the hearings. The plan was approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development June 27, 1995.


The City of Kankakee had a population of 27,575 at the time of the 1990 Census data was gathered. It is located about one hour from Chicago by the way of the Dan Ryan Expressway and Interstate 57. It has a minority population of 40 percent, and its housing consists of approximately 40 percent owner-occupied and 60 percent rental. Also according to the 1990 Census, the Kankakee Metropolitan Area had the lowest wages per person in Illinois.

The City of Kankakee has experienced rapid and serious decline in the past decade, not unlike many urban areas in the county during the 1980's. However, Kankakee's economic failure was exacerbated by the closure of two large factories in 1982 and 1983, resulting in a loss of more that 3,200 jobs just form those two industries. Those closures affected so much of the local economy that subsequent to their closure, it has been estimated that as many as 6,000 to 7,000 jobs were lost in the immediate Kankakee area during those two years.

The Kankakee area has made great strides in recovering its economy, diversifying its economic base and gaining approximately 6,000 jobs since the abrupt lay-offs a decade ago. However, the new wage levels do not match those of the two major factories, both of which are union shops. With the economic downturn came a rapid rise in the City of Kankakee's overall and violent crime rates. In May, 1994, the U.S. Department of Justice called the City of Kankakee "One of America's most violent cities". With the decline in property values that took over the entire Kankakee County area, and the particular circumstances of the City's increasing minority population and crime rate, "white flight" ensued, to the extreme extent that many houses in the City were left vacant and abandoned. Between 1983 and 1993, approximately 800 abandoned houses were demolished in Kankakee. This exodus, along with the financial inability to maintain property on the part of those families and older persons that remained in the City, has left the housing stock in several of the City's older neighborhoods in serious decay.



The City of Kankakee is a community with a population of approximately 29,000. The City is located 60 miles south of Chicago. The median income level is $38,200. Fifty-four percent of the City's residents have been characterized by census data as having very low to low income levels. As of October 1993, the unemployment rate for the City of Kankakee is 12.3% as documented by the Illinois Department of Labor.

Housing Needs

The information on housing need of various income groups is based in the 1990 U.S. Census data, which shows that 31% of all the households in Kankakee are experiencing some type of housing problem (such as an affordability problem, overcrowding, or substandard conditions), including 45% of all renters and 18% of all owners.

Housing Market Conditions

The housing inventory in Kankakee decreased from 11,769 units in 1980 to 11,380 in 1990, a decline of 3.3%. This decrease of 389 units was much less than the decrease in households during that period. The number of households during that period decreased from 11,338 to 10,397, a decline of 941 households. The result was a fairly high vacancy rate of 7.67% for rental housing in 1990, although the vacancy rate for owner housing was quite low in 1990, at 1.62%. Reportedly, there are still a large number of vacant units in the City, most of them presumably rental units.

At the same time of the 1990 Census, a total of 10,397 housing units were occupied, and of these occupied units, 5,271 (50.7%) were owner-occupied and 5,126 (49.3%) were rental units.

There are conflicting projections as to whether the population of the Kankakee area will increase or continue to decrease over the next 10-20 years. Therefore, it is difficult to predict whether there will be in increase in the net number of housing units over that period of time. There has been very little new construction in Kankakee in recent years, and for the immediate future it appears that this will continue to be the case, although there are a substantial number of lots in the City which could be used for infill housing.

Affordable Housing Needs

The City of Kankakee Economic and Community Development Agency administers an Affordable Housing Program under the provision of the Housing and Community Development Act under Section 105(a). The primary purposes of this program are to (1) provide housing stabilization in the City of Kankakee; (2) provide affordable single-family housing for low/moderate income families/persons; (3) provide financial means by direct assistance though the forgivable loan process to facilitate and expand home ownership among persons of low and moderate income when such assistance is use to: subsidize interest rates and mortgage principal amounts; finance the acquisition of housing that is occupied by the home buyers; acquire guarantees for mortgage financing obtained from private lenders; provide up to 50 percent of any down payment required; or pay reasonable closing costs associated with the purchase of a home; (4) fulfill the City's commitment to its Comprehensive Housing Affordability Strategy (CHAS).

Homeless Needs

The 1990 Census counted the number of homeless persons in emergency shelters on one particular night in 1990, along with the number of apparently homeless persons who were visible n street locations. At that time, there were 18 persons in emergency shelters, and no persons counted in street locations.

Although the reliability of the Census street count has been questioned, and is not supposed to be used for the purposes of the Consolidated Plan, there is no other reliable source of data which employed a methodology to count the number of unsheltered homeless at a single point of time. However, social service agencies which deal with the homeless (either as providers OT shelter, rent assistance, or other assistance) or which provide other types of social services to persons who happen to be homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, have provided estimates of the numbers of such persons in need of shelter.

The Salvation Army identified a need for a shelter facility for single homeless males, since there was no facility in Kankakee for this purpose. In fact, in the late 1993, the Salvation Army agreed to use its gymnasium as an overnight shelter for up to 24 single males. The Salvation Army also indicated that there was a need for supportive housing for its clients from Kankakee.

Catholic Charities noted a need for a transitional housing shelter consisting of 10 units, in which people could live in for up to three months. It also cited a need for an additional 20 units of other transitional housing. In terms of supportive housing needs, Catholic Charities estimates that currently 111 of its homeless clients from Kankakee, along with an additional 125 who were at-risk of becoming homeless, were in need of supportive housing. Over a five year period, Catholic Charities has estimated that the supportive housing need would be for 734 persons.

Public and Assisted Housing Needs

The Kankakee Housing Authority is responsible for public housing programs in the City of Kankakee. The Housing Authority operates a total of 355 conventional public housing units, consisting of 200 units for elderly and disabled, and 155 units for families. The Housing Authority has no vacancies in any of its units.

The Kankakee County Housing Authority's waiting list for the Section 8 Existing Housing Program consists of 683 names. The waiting list for conventional public housing consists of 516 names on the general waiting list, and 97 on the waiting list for the Homeownership Program. More specific information was not available regarding the persons on the waiting list (e.g. elderly/family, bedroom size being sought, etc). Because of the large number of persons on the waiting list, the Housing Authority closed the waiting list on October 1, 1993.

The composition of the Housing Authority's waiting lists, and the order in which persons are selected from the waiting list, is affected by certain preference categories which are prescribed by the Federal Government. These include persons paying excessive rent (more that 50% of their income for rent and utilities, persons who have been displaced from housing through no fault of their own, and persons living in substandard housing (or homeless persons). Of the 683 persons on the Section 8 Existing Housing waiting list, 474 have Federal preferences, and of the 516 persons on the general waiting list, 246 have Federal preferences.

Barriers to Affordable Housing

There is a very limited number of ownership units for sale in Kankakee at any one time, particularly units which are affordable to persons in the lower income groups. It would therefore be desirable to see more affordable housing become available to home buyers, either through new construction or the rehabilitation and sale of vacant units. There are many renter households which have a housing cost burden. It is generally thought that a number of these households may be able to afford home ownership if they could come up with the require down payment and/or if financial institution could provide more flexible underwriting standards.

Another factor which has helped in making home ownership more affordable in general is the declining mortgage interest rates over the past year, although home buyers are still faced with increasing real estate prices.

Lead-Based Paint

Lead-Based Paint, which has been demonstrated to be a serious health hazard, was not banned for residential use until 1978. Consequently, all homes constructed prior to the time when lead-based paint stopped being used (assumed to be 1979) must be taken into consideration when trying to estimate the incidence of lead-based paint hazards. Hazards are particularly great in houses built before 1940, when the amount of lead in paint was as high as 50%.

In conjunction with the 1990 Census data to estimate the number of housing units in Kankakee in which lead-based paint is present totals 7,880 (about 68% of the City's total housing stock).

The City relies upon the Kankakee County Health Department's lead screening program to reveal lead-based paint hazards. During the period from January 1, 1992 through September 1993, the Kankakee County Health Department tested 2,336 persons and found 972 of them (42%) to have elevated blood lead levels.

In addition to testing and environmental inspections, the Kankakee County Health Department has an extensive educational effort, with an outreach worker who makes presentations and provides information on lead hazards to parent groups, schools, and other interested groups. They have also ben responsible for news articles, the production of a booklet for physicians and health care providers, distribution of information to a large list of places for dissemination to the public, and the supplying of encapsulating paints.

Community Development Needs

Community Development needs include gainful employment, adult education and vocational training programs, self-sufficiency programs and intensive case management, affordable child care, educational and development programs for children, retraining for displaced workers, emergency assistance for at-risk families and individuals, and affordable and accessible transportation, and infrastructure improvements.


The City's Economic and Community Development Agency is taking a leadership role in attempting to coordinate housing assistance efforts in the City. It has been actively participating in meetings with members of the Homeless Coalition, in order to develop a coordinated approach to solving the homeless problem in the City. The Economic and Community Development Agency may also become more involved with agencies reporting a need for more supportive housing, by trying to gain a greater knowledge of their housing needs and the resources with which to address them, and by helping them to find technical assistance for the development of grant applications.

United Way has functioned as a coordinating agency by publishing the HELP Human Services Directory, by working with the different coalitions of service providers within the City, and by hosting meetings of E.A.G.L.E. (Emergency Assistance Group Learning Exchange). United Way is engaged in a comprehensive assessment of human service needs in the County, which is expected to be used in determining how funds are to be allocated to various service providers.

The Emergency Assistance Learning Exchange (E.A.G.L.E.) is a group of representatives of emergency assistance agencies who meet monthly to share information and resources, and to develop referral systems.


Housing and Community Development Objectives and Priorities

The Housing problems in the City of Kankakee are primarily related to low to moderate income and aging housing stock. Housing priorities and strategies reflect those conditions. Housing objectives focus on the supply of affordable housing and rehabilitation of the housing stock. Community development objectives are to revitalize residential and neighborhood commercial areas, remove blight in the central business area (Downtown Renovation and Restoration Program), and provide economic development opportunities for low and moderate income citizens through the Microenterprise Program.

Housing Priorities

Priorities for Affordable Housing include increasing the supply of affordable housing and reducing the housing cost burdens for low income households, encourage the development of in-fill housing on privately owned vacant lots, continue to participate in the Mortgage Credit Certification Program, encourage lending institutions to continue to develop and utilize programs designed to provide more home ownership opportunities for low income buyers.

Priorities for homelessness alleviation include providing adequate emergency shelter, ensuring transitional and permanent housing alternatives for homeless persons, creating supportive services, providing services to persons at risk of homelessness. Rental assistance is also a priority for those homeless who are not in need of supportive housing, but who do not have the financial resources to pay rent.

Priorities for rental assistance and affordable rental housing include steps to encourage the development of affordable rental housing by private developers, recognizing that because of the limited size of available parcels, rental housing development would have to occur on a small scale basis. In addition, the City will encourage the Housing Authority to take actions to promote the greater dispersal of Section 8 certificates and voucher holders throughout Kankakee County, in order to provide a greater choice of housing opportunities.

Priorities for support facilities and services for persons with special needs is supportive housing or housing linked to supportive services for the frail elderly, persons with HIV/AIDS, and other persons with special needs.

Non-Housing Community Development Priorities

Priorities for Economic Development activities include providing training in the areas of business, math, and other skills or related services to residents; offering loans or grants to existing or potential businesses.

Priorities for other community development activities include public facilities improvements, infrastructure improvements, public services provisions, and a three year demonstration transportation program.

Anti-Poverty Strategy

The City of Kankakee recognizes that housing (particularly the cost of housing) is one of the most critical economic problems faced by persons in poverty. The City will therefore continue to seek additional housing resources for very low income persons.

In addition to the City's housing efforts, there is a large network of agencies in Kankakee County providing human services. It will be the policy of the City of Kankakee to utilize these existing agencies to alleviate poverty in the community.

Housing and Community Development Resources

Within the City of Kankakee 12 Federal, 8 State, 1 Local, and 12 private programs currently provided services to the community. The primary Federal resources include CDBG, HOME, Section 8, Emergency Shelter Grants, Section 202, Section 811, YouthBuild, DCCA, IHWAP, and the Supportive Housing Program. Resources available from the State include IHDA, CILA, and IDPA and the local resource is the Kankakee County Welfare Office. Private programs include local lending institutions' affordable housing programs, and a wide range of nonprofit initiatives.

Coordination of Strategic Plan

The City's Economic and Community Development Agency is the primary resource for undertaking community and economic development activities. As a result of the approach we took to completing the Strategic Planning process, it is apparent that the people, organizations, and governments throughout this community now have a much clearer vision of who we are, what we have in common as goals, challenges, resources, and how personal, organizations and community empowerment relate to economic development. The participants in the process shared information on what can be described as the Three Primary Factors of Success: the clarity of your vision, the definiteness of your purpose, and the approach of your attitudes and actions. If that formula for success is valid, Kankakee is destined to become a national success story of how a community with a troubled past and economic distress can join forces, apply creative thinking and problem solving techniques, and discover the "area of diamonds"?l around us.

Over seventy-five Participating Entities have been involved in various levels of the creation and development of the plan and the carrying degree of participation is expected to continue during the implementation phase. The primary way in which entities have participated in the strategic planning process is through serving on the nine committees which were established. Most of the committees held multiple meetings over the course of several weeks as they individually addresses the eligible activities and evaluation factors pertaining to their area of interest. In some instances, individuals and organizations also participated by providing information, resources or support services. The partnerships established to complete the Strategic Planning process will be carried forward as the superstructure of an implementation strategy. The Steering Committee will continue to be evolved and expand as a central organizational vehicle for implementing and revising as appropriate the implementation of the Strategic Plan.


Description of Key Projects

The City of Kankakee's One-Year Action Plan outlines the proposed use of CDBG, HOME, TRUST, and Lead funds, in addition to program income. These funds will mainly be spent on an array of activities including:


The projects in the One-Year Plan are dedicated to target areas. Funds allocated to these areas are spent on the development of a more viable urban community, including decent, safe, and affordable housing, and a suitable living environment, and expanding economic opportunities, essentially for persons of low and moderate income. The following maps of the entire community are attached: points of interest, outlined low-mod areas, ethnic breakdown and areas of minority concentration, unemployment and CDBG projects.

Lead Agencies

The project integrates the services of the Kankakee County Health Department, the Community Development Agency, and the Code Enforcement Department to identify and treat hazards. Pertinent Health Department services include their Childhood Lead-Poisoning Prevention Program, Healthy Kids, Health Moms, Families with a Future, and WIC.

Housing Goals

The highlights of the City of Kankakee's Housing Goals for the first year include increasing its requests for 50 additional certificates/vouchers under the Section 8 program, increase the supply of affordable housing through rehabilitation, acquisition, and new construction, placing public housing residents in self-sufficiency programs, increasing housing choices, and will provide support efforts of any agency seeking additional funding sources, locating appropriate technical assistance, and possibly in developing grant applications.


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; in addition: a table provides information about the project(s).

MAP 6 depicts neighborhood streets and proposed HUD funded projects, as described in the table under MAP 5.

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

Kymberly Hayes
Executive Director
Community Development Agency
City of Kankakee

Return to Illinois' Consolidated Plans.