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

Consolidated Plan Contact


The city of Rock Island is located in northwestern Illinois, on the Mississippi River. Because of its proximity to the Iowa border, Rock Island often cooperates on projects of mutual interest with the other Quad Cities, which include Moline, Illinois, Bettendorf, Iowa, and Davenport, Iowa.

Action Plan

Federal, State, and local resources will be used to address the priority needs established within the plan. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Federal resources applied for in this plan are $1,689,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds for Fiscal Year 1995-1996.

Citizen Participation

The city of Rock Island held three public hearings, on November 10 and 17, 1994, and January 26, 1995, to review program performance and address city needs related to housing, homelessness, lead-based paint, accessibility, and community development. Additional issues discussed included current market conditions and barriers to affordable housing. The city encouraged participation by citizens, social service agencies, housing providers, financial institutions, nonprofit agencies, and private developers. Notice of each hearing was published in the local Rock Island Argus and nearly 60 invitations were sent. A summary of the Consolidated Plan was published in the Argus on February 3, 1995, and the plan was made available for public review and comment for 30 days. All comments were reviewed. The plan received City Council approval on February 27, 1995.


The population decreased from 46,821 in 1980 to 40,552 in 1990 due to area industry closings. The racial/ethnic population statistics are 78 percent white, 16 percent African American, 4 percent Hispanic, and 2 percent other racial or ethnic minorities. The Douglas Park and Chicago Addition communities have very large minority populations.

The median family income (MFI) for 1990 in Rock Island was $30,675. The vast majority of families with incomes below the poverty level reside in the same neighborhoods where the majority of the minority population live. For instance, the MFI for Chicago Addition, Rock Island's oldest neighborhood, was $12,811 in 1990. Income breakdowns are as follows:



Rock Island's economy was hit hard by the downturn in the farm implement and heavy equipment industries in the 1980s. Within the Quad-City area, the closings of International Harvester's Farmall, Caterpillar, and J.I. Case plants, as well as the significant downsizing of John Deere, significantly affected area employment, population, and housing stock.

The unemployment rate reached its peak in 1983 -- 15.5 percent in Rock Island -- and has dropped since. Rock Island's unemployment rate is the lowest it has been in several years, which is a positive sign. By 1994 the city's unemployment rate of 5.7 had dropped slightly below the State's 5.8 percent. Nevertheless, whereas the poverty rate in 1980 was 12.3 percent, in 1990 that rate increased to 19.3 percent, or 7,411 households living in poverty.

The rising number of vacant and deteriorated homes, the decrease in population, and the increased unemployment rate over the past decade have seriously debilitated Rock Island's older neighborhoods, such as Broadway, Chicago Addition, and Douglas Park.

Housing Needs

Housing needs identified by citizens, social service agencies, and other organizations are:

Market Conditions

The average sale price of homes increased steadily over the past few years. As of 1990 there was a large number of vacant houses for rent and fewer vacant houses for sale. Between 1980 and 1990 the number of housing units decreased 2.4 percent. Abandoned or substandard vacant housing units increased 91 percent.

A 1991 city study of the housing stock revealed:

Affordable Housing Needs

Extremely low-income renters and homeowners are having the most difficulty finding decent and affordable housing. Many low-income residents are forced into substandard homes because that is the only type of housing that they can afford.

Seventy percent of Rock Island's extremely low-income households experienced cost burden (spending greater than 30 percent of income on housing costs). Fifty-six percent of very low-income households experienced cost burden. Twenty-three percent of renter and 19 percent of low-income owner households reported facing cost burden.

Housing problems include cost burden, inadequate physical condition, and overcrowding. Across the board, large family households (five or more members) show a larger percentage of housing problems than others in the same income grouping.

Homeless Needs

The Quad Cities provide an intercity network of shelter and assistance to their homeless populations. The majority of shelters are located in Davenport, Iowa. This coordinated effort increases the difficulty of estimating numbers of homeless people from Rock Island alone. During December 1994 information from the Project NOW Homeless Department showed 59 homeless persons for the entire county of Rock Island. The city of Rock Island has 15 organizations, facilities, and shelters providing services to persons who are homeless or threatened with homelessness.

Public and Assisted Housing Needs

There are 5 public housing projects located throughout the city, as well as 15 scattered site houses earmarked for low-income families with children, providing a total of 606 housing units. Some sites have a high vacancy rate because repairs are being made. The Rock Island Housing Authority administers the Section 8 voucher and certificate program. Currently, 147 certificates and 15 vouchers are available.

The city also owns a 305-unit Section 8 subsidized garden apartment complex, which is under private management. A Consent Decree reached among the city, the Rock Island Housing Authority, and tenants will result in repairs and a reduction in the number of units to 230.

Barriers to Affordable Housing

Several barriers to affordable housing need to be addressed over the next 3-5 years. Probably the largest barrier is the lack of affordable housing. Other barriers include:

The public needs to have a greater awareness and acceptance of the fact that there is an affordable housing problem in the city.

Fair Housing

The Bi-State Regional Commission, a regional council of governments, will coordinate with Rock Island, Illinois, Moline, Illinois, and Davenport, Iowa, to carry out the required fair housing impediments analysis.

Lead-Based Paint

It is estimated that houses built before 1978 have lead-based paint in them. Based on the age of Rock Island's housing stock, almost 16,600 homes, or 92 percent of the housing stock, have lead-based paint. According to the Rock Island County Health Department, blood tests indicate a high concentration of lead paint hazards in houses north of 18th Avenue and on 14 1/2 Street between the 1000 and 1800 blocks.

The city, in coordination with Project NOW and the Rock Island County Health Department, will use a portion of the city's HOME Investment Partnership Program (HOME) funds to provide a house in Rock Island that is completely free of lead-based paint for families to live in while the children are being treated for lead poisoning, and while their homes are receiving lead-based paint abatement.

Other Issues

There are 9,035 elderly residents in the city. The need for housing assistance is particularly acute among very low-income elderly renter households, where 67 percent have housing problems. In addition, 65 percent of very low-income elderly renters are paying more than 30 percent of their income toward housing, 14 percent of whom are considered frail elderly. Several organizations and facilities provide services to the elderly throughout the Quad-City area. Six of these are located in the city of Rock Island.

Persons with disabilities are provided services through several organizations in the Quad-City area. Eight such organizations are located in the city. The city also has four organizations and facilities that provide services and facilities for persons with alcohol and other drug addictions.

Fifty-two cases of AIDS were reported between 1980 and 1994 in Rock Island County. Seventy-three HIV-positive cases were reported countywide between June 1986 and December 1994. Currently, there are no organizations or facilities located in the city that offer services to persons with HIV/AIDS. In fact, the only organization in the entire Quad-City area that does offer services to this population is the Quad Cities AIDS Coalition, Inc., located in Davenport, Iowa.

Community Development Needs

Community development needs identified by citizens, social service agencies, and other organizations are:


Housing Priorities

This strategic plan will cover a 3-year period beginning in 1995. The strategy will attempt to address the following:

Nonhousing Community Development Priorities

High-priority nonhousing community development needs are in the areas of public facility, public service, and economic development needs. The public facilities will include senior, youth, and child-care centers. The public services needed are senior, transportation, and substance abuse services, employment training, crime awareness, tenant/landlord counseling, and child-care services. Economic development activities supporting the expansion of existing businesses and stimulating economic development are planned.

Antipoverty Strategy

Many programs and policies are in place to reduce the number of households with incomes below the poverty line. Such programs are administered through Project Now, the State of Illinois, the Job Training Partnership Act, and Breach Menders, Inc.

Housing and Community Development Resources

Federal, State, and local resources will be used to address the objectives and priorities. This will include:

Coordination of the Strategic Plan

The Rock Island Planning and Redevelopment Division, which led the consolidated planning and submission process, administers the State's Affordable Housing Trust Fund, the State's HOME Program, and the CDBG program. Quarterly the Planning and Redevelopment and Inspections Division, Breach Menders, the Rock Island Economic Growth Corporation, and Project NOW Community Action Agency meet to discuss projects and activities accomplished, under way, and proposed for the future.

Other public agencies will be involved. The Rock Island Housing Authority, for instance, will provide low-income public housing and administer the Section 8 Voucher and Certificate program. The Department of Public Aid will continue programs that provide food stamps, Aid to Families with Dependent Children, and medical assistance. As the Consolidated Plan is updated, the Bi-State Regional Commission will continue to provide important data, maps, and charts.

Project NOW-Community Action Agency, a nonprofit organization, will administer a Weatherization program, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, and the State's HOME Program, which will provide money to rehabilitate vacant houses and rent them to low-income households, offer programs that are specifically designed to rehabilitate homes and provide families with decent affordable housing, and provide homeless assistance and services. Other nonprofit organizations will play important roles. For instance, Breach Menders, Inc., and Rock Island Economic Growth Corporation develop housing for low- and moderate-income homeownership. Often they are assisted by for-profit financial institutions. Modern Woodmen of America, a private insurance company, will help the Rock Island Economic Growth Corporation finance some of the rehabilitation in historic neighborhoods.

Many nonprofit organizations will be involved in familiar roles as service providers. The Western Illinois Area Agency on Aging, Inc., a nonprofit organization, will provide information and referral, community care, transportation, meals, and case management to residents 60 and older.

The Association of Retarded Citizens, a nonprofit organization, will provide care, treatment, training, and developmental and supportive services for mentally or developmentally disabled citizens. The Alliance for the Mentally Ill, a nonprofit organization, will provide persons with severe and prolonged mental illness the opportunity to receive interrelational and vocational skills training in sheltered and community-based residential and vocational settings.


Description of Key Projects

Key projects among the 30 to be undertaken during the year include:


The Community and Economic Development Department, in conjunction with the Rock Island City Council, have established some priorities for allocating investment geographically. The primary area where funds will be applied first is the Neighborhood Strategy Area, which is north of 18th Avenue. The city's HOME funded Small Rental Properties Program has a priority for this area (75% of the funds) with the remainder available in the balance of the city. Block Grant funded activities are almost exclusively delivered north of 18th Avenue, with the exception of the emergency and roof programs. Other agencies (Growth Corporation, Breach Menders, Project NOW, etc.) deliver their services and programs almost exclusively north of 18th Avenue as well.


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

To comment on Rock Island's Consolidated Plan, please contact:

Alan M. Carmen
Planning and Redevelopment Administrator
1528 Third Avenue
Rock Island, Illinois 61201
Phone: 309-793-3442
Fax: 309-793-0655

Return to Illinois' Consolidated Plans.