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Stimulus Funding Helps Illinoisans Survive Great Recession

  • Synopsis: Published: 2010-10-28 - The mission of the Illinois Home Weatherization Assistance Program is to reduce energy costs for families with low incomes. For further information pertaining to this article contact: Illinois Association of Community Action Agencies.

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Community Action Agencies Create, Retain Jobs, Serve More Residents.

The Illinois Association of Community Action Agencies (IACAA) today announced that its 38 member agencies created and retained more than 4,000 jobs, thanks to American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding.

The report "Helping People, Changing Lives: 2010 Report of Community Action ARRA Successes" illustrates that Community Action Agencies are a key component of economic stability. Agencies have invested ARRA funds into their communities in a variety of ways that meet the specific needs of residents with low incomes. With ARRA funds, agencies are creating jobs, weatherizing homes, expanding Head Start programs and preventing homelessness.

"The Great Recession has pushed the American dream further out of reach, especially for those living at or near the poverty line," said Dalitso Sulamoyo, president and CEO of IACAA. "Community Action Agencies are efficient and effective partners to help Illinois individuals and families realize their dreams."

In just over one year, Community Action Agencies throughout Illinois weatherized 16,824 homes with help from ARRA funds, which is twice as many homes than they did in the previous year. In the past four months, Community Action Agencies have weatherized 6,790 homes. This puts Illinois, which ranks second nationwide in the number of homes weatherized, more than halfway to its goal of weatherizing 27,000 homes during the three-year period of ARRA funding.

Community Action Agencies also served more than 126,000 additional customers last year through the ARRA-funded Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) program.

"The CSBG program is our most important funding source. It gives us the flexibility to meet the specific needs of our community," Sulamoyo said. "Now is the time for us - all of us - to tell our U.S. representatives and senators how vital CSBG funding is to the work of Community Action."

Community Action Agencies helped 9,491 people find or keep housing through the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program. And, a stimulus expansion grant allowed Community Action Agencies to serve 1,446 additional children through Head Start program.

Overview of Key Community Action Programs

The Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) program is designed to provide a range of services to help persons with low incomes attain the skills, knowledge and motivation necessary to achieve self-sufficiency. A sample of CSBG services include: emergency food and housing assistance, child care, parenting education, and job training and employment assistance.

Head Start is a federal program for preschool children between the ages of 3 and 5 from families with low incomes. Families do not pay a fee for the program. Children who attend Head Start participate in fun, educational activities, develop important social skills, receive free medical and dental care, have healthy meals and snacks, and enjoy playing in safe settings.

Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP) is a program designed to provide financial assistance and services to prevent individuals and families from becoming homeless. It also helps those who are homeless quickly find housing and financial stability.

The mission of the Illinois Home Weatherization Assistance Program is to reduce energy costs for families with low incomes - particularly for senior citizens, people with disabilities, and children - by improving the energy efficiency of their homes while ensuring their health and safety. Typical weatherization services include installing insulation; sealing ducts; and mitigating heat loss through windows, doors, and other infiltration points.

Editor's Note: To view the report visit www.iacaanet.org/docs/uploads/IACAAARRAReport_Final_mem.pdf

ABOUT IACAA -The Illinois Association of Community Action Agencies is a membership organization which serves as the network for Illinois not-for-profit corporations and units of government which strive to raise the health, education and economic standards of Illinois low income population. Visit the website at www.iacaanet.org



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