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

Consolidated Plan Contact


Although 90 percent of Champaign County is farmland, the city of Urbana, Illinois, is home to the county seat, the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, and 20 percent of the county's households. Because the city and the county have different needs, the Urbana HOME Consortium was established, encompassing Urbana, the city of Champaign, and Champaign County. This two-part Consolidated Plan presents a needs analysis and program strategy for the unincorporated areas of Champaign County and for the city of Urbana.

Action Plan

The plan includes an entitlement budget of $1.4 million for Fiscal Year 1995. HOME Investment Partnership Program (HOME) funds will be used in Champaign County and the cities of Champaign and Urbana, while Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds will be used solely in Urbana.

The city's Consolidated Plan utilizes $581,000 in CDBG funds. Business loan repayments contribute an additional $8,750; housing loan repayments contribute $9,200; and surplus entitlement from 1994 contributes $98,480. The section of the plan pertaining to the Urbana HOME Consortium utilizes $798,000 in HOME funds. Furthermore, the communities involved will add a local match of $189,525.

Citizen Participation

The Urbana Department of Community Development Services developed both components of the Consolidated Plan with the cooperation of the Urbana Community Development Commission, numerous agencies, and concerned residents. The city solicited input from Urbana residents for the city's half of the plan and from county residents outside Urbana for Champaign County's portion of the plan.

With the consent of the city council, the mayor appointed the Community Development Commission, consisting of Urbana residents, to advise city government on the housing and community development program. To solicit resident input, the commission sponsored three hearings in the community development target area. These hearings were announced in the local media and in a Community Development Division newsletter mailed to 2,500 households. The commission sponsored 2 additional hearings to solicit input from 100 social service agencies. The board of commissioners and the Housing Authority of Champaign County (HACC) also contributed to the development of the Consolidated Plan.


Located in east central Illinois, approximately 150 miles south of Chicago, Champaign County had a population of 173,025 in 1990. While the population of both the county and Urbana traditionally has been white, both areas have become more racially diverse. In 1990 the county population was 85 percent white and 15 percent minority. The largest minority group was the African-American population, which constituted almost 10 percent of the county's population. Approximately 5 percent were Asian American and Pacific Islander, and less than 1 percent were Native American. In Urbana 27,527 persons were white; 4,159 were African American; 4,259 were Asian American and Pacific Islander; and 999 were Hispanic.

In 1990 the Champaign County median family income (MFI) was $35,630. Of 38,957 households, 5,613 had incomes below the poverty level. In 1989 the Urbana MFI was $31,133, and 6,302 persons had incomes below the poverty level, which was $12,674 for a family of 4. In 1990, 46 percent of the 10,392 white households living in Urbana were low-income, versus 100 percent of Native-American households, 79 percent of Asian- American households, and 74 percent of African-American and Hispanic households. Some of these figures can be attributed to the high number of students residing in Urbana. Low-income persons were concentrated in three areas of the city: university-related dormitories and apartments in west Urbana, the university's married student housing complexes in southwest Urbana, and the city's current community development target areas in north and east central Urbana.



Since the turn of the century, Champaign County's population has increased with each census. Although the population growth rate was 3.3 percent between 1980 and 1990, more than half of the county's 24 municipalities lost population during the 1990s. As a result of the closing of Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul, the region's unemployment rate increased to 6.8 percent in 1993.

The growth of Urbana has been directly tied to the growth of the University of Illinois, the region's primary employer. Between 1970 and 1990, university enrollment increased by 5.1 percent, rising to 35,766. Comparatively, Urbana's population increased by 7 percent, rising to 36,344.

The university also influences the city's household composition. Of 13,210 households in Urbana, half consisted of non-family households, and 35 percent consisted of one person, reflecting the large number of university students and their impact on the community.

Housing Needs

The Consolidated Plan identifies the following housing needs for both the county and Urbana:

Market Conditions

In 1990 Champaign County had 68,416 housing units, 63,900 of which were occupied. Renters occupied 29,043 housing units, and owners occupied 34,857 units. Vacancy rates varied from 1.8 percent for single-family units to 4.8 percent for mobile homes. By 1990 county homeownership rates dropped to slightly less than 50 percent.

In 1990 Urbana had 14,006 housing units, 13,210 of which were occupied. Most of the county's rental units were located in the cities of Urbana and Champaign. If construction trends remain constant, Urbana's stock will be dominated by multifamily rental dwellings, which currently account for 62 percent of all units. Vacancy rates were 5.5 percent for rental property and 1.7 percent for owner-occupied property.

Nearly 70 percent of Urbana housing units had five or less rooms, limiting rental housing opportunities for large families. Also, most large apartments were found on the university campus at rental rates that low-income families could not afford. The common practice of renting a four-bedroom apartment to several students at $200 per person per month inflated the prices for comparable housing.

Affordable Housing Needs

Affordability was the primary housing issue in both Champaign County and Urbana. A high percentage of low-income county renters are severely cost-burdened, paying more than 50 percent of their gross income for housing expenses. In Urbana the student demand for rental housing compounds the problem. The majority of low-income households are cost-burdened, paying more than 30 percent of their income for rent and utilities, and almost 80 percent of extremely low-income households are cost-burdened. Nearly 40 percent of homeowners have similar cost burdens. While the majority of rental units are in good condition, an estimated 15 percent of the rental housing stock are substandard but suitable for renovation.

Homeless Needs

Although there are eight emergency homeless shelters throughout Champaign County, most homeless persons and providers of homeless services were located in the cities of Urbana and Champaign. A 1993 1-day census conducted by Urbana and social service providers counted 273 homeless persons. More than 75 percent were victims of domestic violence, and 23 percent suffered from alcohol and drug abuse problems. The United Way reported that single-parent families are most susceptible to becoming homeless.

Social service providers include: the Center for Women in Transition, Catholic Worker House, Family Service, Ministry to the Homeless, Salvation Army Stepping Stone Shelter, and A Woman's Place. Local service capacity cannot meet demand. The Center for Women in Transition annually turns away 500 persons.

The Champaign County Regional Planning Commission (RPC), which provides rental assistance to homeless families, also administers an Emergency Homeless Program, which assisted 850 individuals between May 1992 and April 1993. Because the 1988 demand for homeless services in the county exceeded the availability, RPC depleted its emergency funds within 6 months. In 1989, those funds were depleted within 5 months.

To better meet service demands, the county developed a Continuum of Homeless Care System in 1995. This system includes: outreach, intake, assessment, and advocacy; emergency shelter; transitional housing; permanent housing; and permanent supportive housing.

Public and Assisted Housing Needs

Because of the lengthy waiting list for public housing, HACC cannot meet the needs of low- income persons who require immediate housing. In 1992 the county administered 491 Section 8 certificates and vouchers, while 133 households remained on the waiting list. In Rantoul the Mitchell Court Apartments, which contain 101 units, had a waiting list of 154. In 1990 the county administered 875 subsidized family units and 886 subsidized elderly and handicapped-accessible units.

Subsidized housing was at a premium in Urbana. Although the city administered 745 subsidized units, 3,724 households had incomes that made them eligible for these units. In 1993 HACC administered 104 Section 8 rent assistance vouchers and certificates in Urbana.

Barriers to Affordable Housing

Champaign County has established a number of policies that promote affordable housing. In addition to allowing manufactured housing, the county has a one-stop permitting system, no rent controls, and no exclusionary zoning.

However, Urbana identifies the following barriers to affordable housing:

Fair Housing

Urbana's Human Relations Division enforces the city's fair housing ordinance, which promotes equal housing opportunities for all residents. The Human Relations Officer investigates housing discrimination complaints, serving as a mediator between the parties, and collaborates with the Human Relations Commission to provide periodic fair housing training for landlords and tenants.

The Champaign-Urbana Tenant Union reported that covering legal counseling and representation fees for low-income tenants was a continuing problem. Although two organizations provide limited free counseling and representation under specific circumstances, the Champaign-Urbana Tenant Union estimates that nearly 600 clients annually need legal counseling but cannot afford it and do not meet the eligibility requirements for free counseling.

Lead-Based Paint

Of nearly 68,000 housing units in Champaign County, an estimated 51,900 are likely to contain lead-based paint because they were built before 1979, when the residential use of lead-based paint was banned. In 1993, 1,263 Champaign County children ages 6 and under were tested, and 17 cases of lead poisoning were confirmed.

Although 60 percent of the households in Urbana live in units thought to contain lead-based paint, only a few cases of children with elevated blood-lead levels were reported. These cases occurred on West Main Street and North Broadway Avenue.

Other Issues

Both Champaign County and Urbana have private non-profit agencies that provide most of the services for persons with special needs. In 1993 the Illinois Department of Public Health reported that 98 persons had been diagnosed with AIDS countywide. The Champaign- Urbana Public Health District provides case management services to persons with HIV/AIDS throughout the county, and non-profit groups, such as the United Way and Champaign House, help to provide for this population.

The Consolidated Plan identifies the need to expand substance abuse treatment facilities and to develop dual diagnosis treatment programs that help persons suffering from both mental illness and substance abuse. The plan calls for these programs to be designed to include transitional and permanent residential programs.

Although numerous agencies provide services to persons with physical and mental disabilities, housing for this population was limited in Urbana, particularly for the families of persons with disabilities. Because only a few accessible units are available in Urbana's public housing stock, the city has offered grants to make private housing accessible for low- income persons.

Community Development Needs

Only Urbana identified community development needs because it will use CDBG funds exclusively. High and medium priority needs include:


The Urbana Department of Community Development Services is responsible for the coordination and implementation of the Consolidated Plan.


Housing Priorities

The Consolidated Plan identifies the following housing priorities:

Non-housing Community Development Priorities

The Consolidated Plan identifies the following community development priorities, which will be addressed between 1995 and 1999:

Anti-poverty Strategy

Policy and funding decisions will foster stronger links between housing and anti-poverty programs that offer supportive services. Urbana's participation in the Greater Champaign- Urbana Economic Partnership will help the city to focus economic development efforts on the creation and retention of jobs for unemployed and underemployed residents. Specific economic development strategies include:

Housing and Community Development Resources

Private non-profit housing developers are critical to the Consolidated Plan's strategies, such as: the development of a single-room occupancy facility for the homeless, the construction of single-family dwellings for first-time homebuyers, and the provision of supportive housing for persons with special needs. To support these housing developers, the cities of Urbana and Champaign, in conjunction with the Champaign Community Reinvestment Council, will apply to the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation for charter membership in the NeighborWorks Network. This network helps cities to establish private non-profit housing corporations.

In addition, the city will encourage the development of multiple non-profit housing development organizations that offer unique program services. These organizations may include: the United Citizens and Neighbors, which serves the neighborhood north of Carle; the Mental Health Center of Champaign County; and the Illinois Center for Citizen Involvement.

To increase dollars available for leveraging, Urbana created a housing trust fund from rental loan repayments. When the city focuses its housing funds toward very low-income households, local financial institutions have an opportunity to serve low- and moderate- income households previously served by the city.

To improve the efficiency of social service funding, Urbana will establish a policy for funding targets and application procedures. Non-profit organizations providing services include: Urban League of Champaign County, the United Way, A Woman's Place, the Forbes Transitional House, Center for Women in Transition, McKinley Foundation, the Salvation Army, and the Greater Champaign-Urbana Economic Partnership.

Coordination of Strategic Plan

The Consolidated Plan for Champaign County is coordinated through a multiagency collaboration. RPC administers community development and service programs for low- and moderate-income residents throughout the county. RPC, a planning and grant administering agency, is composed of mayors, a representative from each city council, the county board chairman, two county board members, and another member selected to represent low- income minority members. HACC administers the public housing and Section 8 Rental Assistance program in the county.

Urbana has administered housing programs since 1975, assuming the role of housing developer as well as property owner and manager. To allocate energy and funds more appropriately, the city will change its role to service planner, funder, program monitor, and evaluator. The Community Development Division will be renamed as the Grants Management Division to reflect these new functions. The city will use local funds to leverage non-city funds to support this change, which requires the city to work even more closely with agencies, such as HACC, local financial institutions, and non-profit organizations that will be the subgrantees providing all services.


Description of Key Projects

The key projects proposed by Champaign County and Urbana include:


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 project(s) from a street level vantage point.

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

Bruce Stoffel
Community Development Director 400 South Vine Street
Urbana, IL 61801

Tel. 217-384-2447
Fax. 217-384-2363

Return to Illinois' Consolidated Plans.