CHICAGO (STMW) – Gov. Pat Quinn on Saturday announced nearly $4.3 million in federal funding to increase affordable housing and stabilize communities in three west suburban Cook County communities.

Awarded through the “IKE” Disaster Recovery Program, the funding will be used to rehabilitate homes in Bellwood, Maywood and Forest Park for low-and-moderate income families, a release from the governor’s office said. Communities throughout west Cook County faced severe flood and storm impacts in 2008. The three communities receiving funding are working to stabilize their communities after several years of economic downturn, the release said.

The IKE funding will support acquiring, rehabilitating and selling homes in Bellwood, Maywood and Forest Park. The IKE recovery program is named for Hurricane Ike, the 2008 disaster that was one of the costliest hurricanes ever to make landfall in the United States. Illinois received a total of $169 million in federal disaster funds under IKE to assist communities within 41 Illinois counties in recovering from devastating floods and storms in 2008, and minimize the impact of future disasters. Projects approved under the IKE-Community Stabilization component of the program help increase affordable housing and stabilize communities.

“Today’s funding will help communities in west Cook County ensure decent, affordable housing for more families and residents,” U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, who was at the event with the governor, said. “More than that, a stable community with easy access to transportation is better positioned to retain and attract businesses that can revitalize the region and create good-paying jobs.”

Quinn announced the IKE award at an event Saturday with Sen. Durbin, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Congressman Danny K. Davis and state and local officials. The IKE award, administered through the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, is helping the area leverage additional federal funding. Also today, HUD announced a $2.9 million Sustainable Communities Regional Planning grant to the West Cook County Housing Collaborative (WCCHC), the release said.

The WCCHC is a collaboration among five communities in west suburban Cook County to address shared housing issues, including foreclosure recovery and strategies to encourage transit-oriented redevelopment. The IKE funding will be used to build on the efforts of the West Cook County Housing Collaborative to address affordable housing needs in Bellwood, Berwyn, Forest Park, Maywood and Oak Park.

“We are pleased to see these communities working together on a collaborative approach, which is why we wanted to support their joint effort and help leverage additional federal funding,” DCEO Director Warren Ribley said. “The funding will help these west suburban Cook County communities bring increased affordable housing to areas in need.”

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