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

Consolidated Plan Contact


The City of Waukegan was incorporated as Little Fort in 1849 and was given its current name at the time of its second incorporation in 1859. In its early years, Waukegan was a small Pottawatomi Indian settlement and a French Trading post. The City, the seat of Lake County, covers 24 square miles in the northeastern section of the County. Waukegan experienced an industrial boom in the late 1800s and up until the 1960s, it had established itself as a retail shopping hub. Like other older urban centers, the City is faced with aging housing stock and infrastructure, an erosion of its tax base as the dramatic outmigrations of its residents to the suburbs continues, and increasing crime and drugs.

Action Plan

The City's One-Year Action Plan is supported by Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds which it receives directly from HUD and by HOME funds which it receives through the Lake County Consortium. This County consortium consists of Waukegan, Lake County and North Chicago. The total amount of HUD funds and program income expected to be available is for the Plan's activities is $1,325,406.00. The City does not receive any HUD direct funding for Homeless programs, rather the City's homeless needs are addressed through Lake County's homeless programs.

Citizen Participation

Notification of the City's Citizens Participation Plan was published in the local newspaper. Citizens were given 30 days to provide their comments and input on the plan, which made available at ten locations throughout the City. No public comments were received. During the initial stages of the plan's development, the City held a series of public hearings to solicit citizen comments. In an efforts to define its community's needs and to address the Consolidated Plan Requirements, the City also held a series of meetings with the Lake County Health Department, the Waukegan Housing Authority, Catholic Charities, Neighborhood Housing Services, Waukegan Township and Lake County CDBG staff.

Examples of other efforts to involve citizens included the participation of residents on the Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS) Board. Currently, residents account for 51% of the Board's membership. The most recent effort to involve citizens is seen in the formation of a grass-root organization called the Waukegan Community Federation. Waukegan was one of only five Illinois cities selected to participate with the Governor's Task Force on Human Service Reform. This task force is charged with coordinating the work of six State family, child and public health agencies.


According to the 1990 Census, Waukegan's population was 69,392 with Whites comprising 60.7% of the population, Blacks 19.9%, Hispanics 17%, Asians 1.8% and American Indian and Alaskan Natives 0.6%. The Census also placed the total number of City households at 24,597 with 7994 of those being extremely low income, 3518 very low income, 2839 low income and 10246 moderate or higher income households. These figures demonstrate that more than half of the City's households are income-qualified for CDBG assistance.


Housing Needs

Forty-six percent of City renters experience housing problems. Of this percent, 49% have a housing cost burden and 35% have a severe cost burden. A housing cost burden is defined as a household paying in excess of 30% of its income on rent and a severe housing cost burden is defined as a household paying more than 50% of its income on rent. An estimated 10.5% of City renters are living in overcrowded households and of this percent, 54.2% are large related households.

Many of Waukegan's deteriorating homes are in the City's CDBG targeted areas and are owned by low income people, unable to pay for needed housing repairs. Due to the large number of applicants, the City in 1994 hired additional staff to help meet the large number of requests for housing assistance. Through its CDBG program, Waukegan provides housing assistance to all levels of its low income households, numbering 14,351. For example, extremely low income homeowners are eligible for a 50% conditional grant (paid back to the CDBG program if the house is sold within 10 years, but forgiven if retained by the owner for that time) and a 50% deferred, (paid back when the house is sold regardless of the time frame). Very low income homeowners are eligible for a 25% conditional grant and 75% deferred loan. Low income persons are eligible for a low interest loan combination (25% conditional grant, 50% deferred loss, 25% low interest loan).

Besides Waukegan's housing rehabilitation activities, The City cites the need to assist first- time homebuyers. Part of that need is being meet by City's HOME program which funds the Model Block project. Through this project, panel homes are partially constructed at the factory and assembled and finished on the housing site. H.S. provides forgivable loan of $20,000 at zero interest and $3000.00 in downpayment assistance to the prospective low- income homeowner who must match this assistance with $2000. downpayment and qualify for a $75,000. mortgage through a private lender.

Housing Market Conditions

The 1990 Census data shows Waukegan as having 25,800 year-round housing units. Of that number, 24,545 are occupied and identified as 11,401 rental units, 13,144 owner occupied units and 1,255 vacant units. The vacancy rate for owner-occupied homes is 1.39% and for renter occupied, it is 5.76%. The average cost of a Waukegan home is $96,288, while the county average hovers around $194,720. The rents, however, for both the City and County are consistently the same. The City believes that this consistency supports the City's belief that Waukegan rents are artificially inflated. The City further believes that the inflation is due, in part, to HUD's fair market rents being based on County areas that do not always correspond statistically with Waukegan's economic indices.

Although there are no accurate figures to describe the condition of the City's housing stock, the City states that a large number of its housing stock is in need of substantial repair. The City's basis its conclusion on the advanced age of most the City's housing stock, the substantial numbers of low income City households and the lengthy waiting list of City homeowners requesting CDBG housing assistance.

Affordable Housing Needs

In order to better preserve its housing stock, the City plans are to assist low income owners of one to four unit properties in the rehabilitation of their properties. The City also wants to create more homeownership opportunities for the low and moderate income first-time homeowners, particularly during this time when market forces are more favorable to the prospective low income homebuyer, such as lower interest rates and housing prices. Further, there is a need to continue projects that help to relieve the housing cost burden of low income owners and renters. Such projects include the Lake County Community Action Project which offers assistance to low income homeowners for the weatherization of their homes. Another project is carried out by Service, Employment Redevelopment (SER) to help renters find affordable apartments and to provide funding to help low income households by paying one month's rent and utilities.

Homeless Needs

Lake County is the direct recipient of Emergency Shelter Grant funds and works cooperatively with and leads local agencies in addressing the homeless needs of its participating jurisdictions, including the City of Waukegan. The City's own homeless action plan for 1995 was to identify data sources that will provide specific information on Waukegan's homeless; to survey the County and other homeless providers to assess the continuum of care provided to the City's homeless; to continue its coordination efforts with the Lake County Coalition for the Homeless, and to participate in a task force on homeless issues and develop suitable applications for local homeless providers. In 1996 the City will continue its involvement with the Homeless Needs Identification Task Force and continue to accept applications from Homeless providers during the annual funding cycle.

The County uses its homeless funds to support activities by the providers of transitional housing. The County's long-term goal is to enhance the range of supportive services available to homeless families and individuals and to those threatened with homelessness. Overall, the County has a number of agencies that offer emergency shelter to homeless individuals, including Public Action to Deliver Shelter. This organization has sixteen shelters throughout the County and is able to assist to 70 people per night.

In addition, Catholic Charities provides vouchers for area motels to the County's homeless families and has assisted an average of 400 persons per year. Safe Place operates a shelter for women and children who have been the victims of domestic abuse. The Salvation Army also operates an emergency shelter right in Waukegan with a bed capacity for 87 people.

Public and Assisted Housing Needs

Efforts by the Waukegan Housing Authority to get its residents more involved in a program to aid in the management of their units have been disappointing. Even so, the Authority's efforts have had some positive results, such as the formation of the Resident Council, whose primary responsibility and function is to administer social programs. Currently, the Authority is reformulating its plan to garner more tenant involvement in community.

Waukegan Housing Authority operations include the management of 423 public housing units located on five separate sites and 25 scattered site units. Also, the Authority controls 324 Section 8 Certificates, 67 Section 8 vouchers, 41 Mod. Rehabs, and 179 Portable Section 8 Certificates and Vouchers from other parts of the State of Illinois.

Even though a total of 6ll households within the Authority's jurisdiction are receiving rental assistance, the waiting list for Section 8 Certificates numbers 832. Because the numbers of those in need far outnumber available resources, the Authority has had to close its waiting list to any new applicants for the time being.

The physical condition of the City's public housing units requires an estimated annual expenditure of $667,619 for repair costs. The Housing Authority has identified and prioritized four of its housing projects for general site improvements and interior rehabilitation of units at a cost of $5,573,670.00 over a five year period.

The Authority, also, expresses the need to provide disabled public housing residents with better access to programs and activities by ensuring that non-dwelling facilities are accessible to the handicap and that its existing units are fully accessible. The Housing Authority has developed a plan to meet these needs and to comply with the Section 504 disability requirements for future construction of buildings. Under the CIAP grant, the Authority was able to remedy many of its identified deficiencies.

Barriers to Affordable Housing

In addressing this area, the City states that housing barriers are not government imposed at the local level, but are largely due to the inability of many of its residents to get and keep higher paying skilled jobs. As part of its efforts to remove housing barriers, the City in 1977, approved a comprehensive zoning ordinance and zoning map. To test the effectiveness of its ordinance, the City did a five-year review, which resulted in only minor modifications having to be made. The majority of the City's zoning changes has been in the area of multi-family housing. For example, when a legal non-conforming property located in a single-family zone is over 51% destroyed(ie:by fire, etc., the property must be returned to single-family occupancy.

Fair Housing

The City has certified that it will affirmatively further fair housing and aggressively comply with Anti-Discrimination requirements. In this regard, the Waukegan Housing Authority has remedied the deficiencies denoted in the Section 504 Needs Assessment as of July 1994. In addition, CDBG staff has participated with the Lake County Fair Housing Task Force and is supporting the Lake County Fair Housing Center with administration funding.

Lead-Based Paint

1990 Census data showed the City as having 5,325 housing units built before 1940, 2539 between 1940 and 1959, and 14879 between 1960 and 1979. Using this information, the City estimates that the number of units with potential lead-based paint hazards is 4793 pre- 1940 units, 2,031 1940-1959 units and 9,225 1960-1979. Of the 22,743 units built prior to 1979, 18,863 are occupied by low income families.

The City's strategy for reducing lead-based paint hazards is to inspect the homes of the applicants for CDBG and HOME assisted housing rehabilitation loans and to coordinate its lead-based paint abatement efforts with the County's Health Department, particularly in the development of a lead screening system for children under seven.

Community Development Needs

Waukegan's lists of community development needs range from improving public, park and recreational facilities and infrastructure, to expanding public services, to the removal of architectural barriers, to undertaking City funded economic development. In prioritizing its one year needs, the City assigns its highest priority to child care centers, parking facilities, water and sewer systems, streets , health services, crime awareness, accessibility needs, economic development, lead based paint abatement and code enforcement. The City designates as its lowest priority needs senior centers, youth centers, neighborhood and health facilities, and services to seniors, the handicapped, youth, and child care and transportation services and historic preservation. The City names improvement of parks and recreational facilities, asbestos removal, substance abuse services, employment training, fair housing counseling and energy efficiency as its medium priority needs.


Housing and Community Development Objectives and Priorities

The City's housing priority is to foster and maintain affordable housing, primarily through its HOME and CDBG programs and to make a concerted effort to eliminate any barriers to affordable housing when they first surface. Waukegan is currently operating program as component of its Housing Rehabilitation Program. In support of the high priority it places on economic development, the City will continue its efforts to expand existing education and job training programs and to support the North Chicago Waukegan Coalition in establishing learning centers.

Housing Priorities

One of the City's housing priorities is to increase housing rehabilitation opportunities for its low income homeowners of one to four unit properties. In meeting Waukegan's homeowner needs, the City's divides its Housing Rehabilitation Program into Emergency and Substantial Rehabilitation activities. The Program pays for the repair of owner occupied properties in order to bring them in compliance with local codes and for emergency repairs that involve life and health safety items, such as roof leaks and faulty furnaces. [Another City housing priorities is to expand affordable and decent housing opportunities to its low income renters.]

In this regard, the City's Housing Rehabilitation Program will provide loans to help address the physical defects of rental properties owner occupied up to 4 units contingent upon the owner's certification that rents will not increase as the result of the rehabilitation. The City also places a priority on increasing first-time buyer opportunities for low-income renters and will focus on a program of creative mortgage financing and downpayment assistance for this income group through Neighborhood Housing Services.

Non-Housing Community Development Priorities

The City lists Child Care Centers serving low income families as chief among its highest public facility priority needs. Because these Centers charge lower than market rates, they lack funding for expenses outside the normal program costs. The City finds that such Centers require a approximately $50,000.00 to help them defray their outside costs. The City also places a high priority on the continued allocation of CDBG funds for parks located in low and moderate income areas and needs $100,000, for this purpose. Also, the City places a high priority on the improvement of streets, alleys, sidewalks water and sewer improvements, particularly in low and moderate income areas, and the need is estimated at $33.8 million for these infrastructure improvements.

Anti-Poverty Strategy

To combat poverty influences, City assumes a twofold strategy of focusing on the preservation and improvement of its affordable housing stock through its major housing rehabilitation and first- time buyer homeowner programs for low income families and through the continued support of the County's homeless efforts. Moreover, the City will continue to provide CDBG funds to other organizations that undertake comprehensive programs to reduce poverty levels through job training, employment services, child care and other poverty related public service activities.

Housing and Community Development Resources

In addition to its CDBG and program income funds of approximately $1,125,000., the City's resources include various private and non-federal public sources that reasonably are expected to be available in support of its Consolidated Plan. For example, the United Way of Lake County distributed funds in the amount of $4.4 million to 50 agencies in support of 106 programs throughout Lake County. This distribution has benefitted the residents of Waukegan. The Neighborhood Housing Services of Lake County is a nonprofit housing organization that leveraged $750,000. in the form of mortgages to low income buyers of Waukegan's "Model Block" homes. The Waukegan Housing Authority receives Section 8 certificates and vouchers and other federal housing assistance in support of its low income housing programs.

Coordination of Strategic Plan

The City's Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Office is the lead agency in the City's consolidated planning process. A process which included meetings between the City and other major players on numerous funding and policy issues involved in the development and implementation of the plan. These players included the Lake County Health Department, the Waukegan Housing Authority, Neighborhood Housing Services, Catholic Charities, the County's CDBG staff, Waukegan Township and a number of other groups and organizations. The City has committed to continue working with these agencies and groups as the Plan moves forward. However, the City did express its concern that some agencies and organizations are not as diligent in providing the City with information on their funding decisions that affect the City's overall goals and programs.


Description of Key Projects

The City's Consolidated Plan is supported with funds from the Community Development Block Grant Program and program income. These funds will be expended on the following activities:

*$ 300,000Alley Resurfacing Program
*$14,706 Sidewalks in CDBG eligible areas
*$118,125 Community Policing Project
*$20,000 HealthReach Clinic, Inc.
*$310,325 Housing Rehabilitation Program
*$30,000 Catholic Charities (Case Management Services)
*$44,169 Code Enforcement
*$20,000 Happy Day Nursery School
*$25,000 Disposition of CDBG owned lots
*$18,000 Independence Center
*$ 225,081 Cost related to planning and implementation of CD activities in Waukegan and Lake County.


Targeted low income City census tracts, Citywide.

Lead Agencies

The City's Police Department, CDBG Office, Building Department, Catholic Charities, and other Agencies.

Housing Goals

The City estimates that 250 low income residents will benefit from improved housing through housing rehabilitation and code enforcement over the next 5 years.


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 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).

For more information on Waukegan's Consolidated Plan, please contact:
Larry Dixson
Community Development Director
(847) 360-9000 x488

Return to Illinois' Consolidated Plans.