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Lawmakers hear update on COVID-19 affordable housing grant program

28 Jul 2022 7:27 AM | Anonymous

Efforts are underway in Illinois to use federal relief funds to address affordable housing. [Health News Illinois] 

Members of the House’s Housing Committee met last week for an update on a grant program passed last year by the General Assembly that provided $75 million from the American Rescue Plan Act to kickstart housing developments. An additional $150 million is heading to the program in the current fiscal year budget.

“Our purpose in passing the … program was to help close the gap and to allow for some of those projects that are receiving the federal tax credit to get the resources they need to be fully financed and come to fruition,” said committee Chair Will Guzzardi, D-Chicago.

Kristin Faust, executive director at the Illinois Housing Development Authority, told lawmakers that Illinois faces an estimated shortage of more than 200,000 affordable and available units.

The agency has allocated $72.7 million from the program to 20 developments in 17 municipalities across Illinois that contain 1,094 total units. It plans to split the remaining $150 million over the next two fiscal years.

“That extra $75 million last year, this year and next year is really going to allow us to hold steady," Faust said, noting the rise in interest rates and inflation have started to affect construction.

The funds must be allocated by the end of 2024 and spent by 2026.

 “We certainly don't want to leave any money on the table,” Guzzardi said.

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