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Elgin to apply for grant to rehab more foreclosed homes
By Harry Hitzeman | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 7/9/2009 5:02 PM

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Elgin leaders have already obtained $2.1 million from the federal government to buy, rehab and sell foreclosed homes.

Now, city leaders are hoping to land another $2.44 million for the same purpose, although this time they have compete against other communities vying for a slice of the $2 billion federal pie.

Elgin will apply for its share of federal funding as part of a larger, $75 million request by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, which is a consortium of 10 regional agencies.

Elgin City Council members decided against becoming part of a Kane County plan that seeks to erect some 720 affordable housing units at two Elgin sites: the southwest corner of Route 31 and Route 20 and on Dundee Avenue near Interstate 90.

Mayor Ed Schock noted that the Illinois Housing Development Authority considers 46 percent of Elgin homes as "affordable," second in the area only to Aurora's 49 percent.

"We need to focus on clearing out the 1,500 foreclosed homes and get them occupied because they are dragging down neighborhoods," Schock said. "I couldn't agree more with the (CMAP) proposal. I think it's the way to go."

City officials will apply next week for the grant and should learn by the end of the year if they get it.

Jerry Deering, the city's community development director, said the first batch of money from the federal government was through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Neighborhood Stabilization Program.

Through it, Elgin had to meet certain criteria and was automatically awarded the money.

This time around, the city is competing against other communities across the country.

Deering also noted that the city's 2005 comprehensive plan urges leaders to "maintain and preserve the existing affordable housing supply" instead of growing it.

"We believe (the CMAP plan) provides the most complete application," Deering said.