Bringing homes up to code: Streator will seek grant funds

Grant could provide up to $50,000 per home

Connie Buchanan from NCICG addresses attendees at the Streator City Council's special meeting Wednesday night.

Streator has joined many local communities in applying for the Illinois Community Development Block Grant program in an effort to rehabilitate some older homes and raise property values.

Streator Mayor Jimmie Lansford said this $550,000 in grant money would go toward a program that works similarly to the city’s facade grant program.

The money from this grant comes out of $7 million in available funds that will be given out to many communities, and the $550,000 portion could be used on a minimum of 10 homes to bring them up to code.

Connie Buchanan from the North Central Illinois Council of Governments said homes must be within the designated neighborhood that stretches from the corner of Sixth Street and Bloomington Street to the Vermilion River, then north of East Main Street east to Vermillion Street, then north to Larue Street stretching from Vermillion Street to Bloomington Street, and then from West Lincoln Avenue to the south.

“Most of the things that have the highest priority are in areas concerning health and safety, but some homes have gotten a new roof, windows, siding, and flooring,” Buchanan said. “Some people were at risk of losing their house insurance, so we are able to come in and make evaluations and bring them to the housing committee.”

The public hearing Wednesday gauged interest to see who would like to apply for the program if the city receives the grant.

Buchanan said the city will get higher marks on its application if 10 people showed up, and about 20 residents attended. Residents of the neighborhoods in question received a survey in the mail asking if they are interested.

“The community and your neighborhoods as a whole benefit, even individual homeowners who earn more than what incomes that would qualify for the grant,” said City Manager David Plyman. “As the homes are improved in the neighborhoods, it should benefit property values around it because of the additional investment.”

Plyman said the city intends to make this a multiple-year program.

If the city is awarded the grant, it will be able to spend up to $50,000 on a home that successfully qualifies for the program. Smaller amounts can be spent if it’s discovered multiple homes are in need of smaller improvements that would bring them up to code.