14 agencies seek federal funding from Skokie
Council for Jewish Elderly Rabbi Michael Schorin, a Skokie resident, talked to Lieberman Center residents Blanche Simon and Sandra Kirschblum two years ago during the center's 30th anniversary celebration. | File photo
Updated: February 25, 2013 6:05AM
SKOKIE — The federal Community Development Block Grant funding program was formed to help primarily with brick-and-mortar projects, but that’s not reflective of the funding requests made this year.
Among the 14 social service agencies that applied to the village for federal funding, nine are to support service and programming and five are for help with capital improvements. That’s not surprising, though, considering the challenges that face social service agencies as state and county aid has been reduced and the state is behind in providing promised help.
One social agency representative after another came before the Skokie Village Board Jan. 7 to elaborate on their grant proposals, but there was a common thread among many of them: The need from agencies that provide help to those who are struggling is greater today and the resources they receive scarcer.
“You’ve been in the forefront of providing essential assistance,” said Mayor George Van Dusen. “You have nothing but our unqualified admiration.”
Like other government resources on which these agencies depend, the village is feeling the pinch of difficult economic times as well.
Housing and Urban Development provides CDBG funding to Skokie to allocate for village and outside agency projects. As primarily a bricks and mortar venture, the program caps social service proposals at 15 percent.
Likewise, the amount the village will receive for allocation this year is yet unknown, but officials believe it will be less than last year.
A projected $425,000 allotment total – a 5 percent reduction from last year – would mean difficult cuts to grant applications totaling $463,000. The village would have to trim at least $37,000 from applicants’ proposals.
The village will be able to reprogram about $36,446 in past funds that have not been allocated and more than $2,200 for this year’s CDBG program, driving up the total budget, including village projects, to $463,686. That compares to requests from both the village and social service agencies of $501,020.
To make difficult decisions on what programs to fund and how much, village officials will visit all applicants.
Village proposals this year for CDBG funding total $370,920 intended to pay for CDBG administration and planning; the village’s home improvement program; street resurfacing; the village’s sidewalk grant program; and for a social worker in the village’s Human Services Division, a position that began a few years ago using CDBG funding.
Programming and service grants were requested from Metropolitan Family Services, $5,000, the same as what it received last year; Center For Enriched Living, $5000, up from $2,000 it received last year; Maine-Niles Association of Special Recreation, $3,000, up from $2,000 it received last year; Access to Care, $7.000, up from $5,000 it received last year; and Peer Services, $12,000, up from $6,500 it received last year.
Also, Children’s Advocacy Center, $3,500, up from $2,500 it received last year; The Harbor, $8,000, up from $6,000 it received last year; North Shore Senior Center, $10,000, up from $8,000 it received last year; and Jewish Child and Family Services, $10,000, one of two first-time applicants.
Capital project requests were made by Connections For the Homeless, $3,559 for improvements to its property on the 4800 block of Hull Street, a first-time applicant; CJE Senior Life (Lieberman Center), $15,000 to expand emergency generator coverage, up from $10,000 it received last year; Turning Point Behavioral Health Care, $9,750 to construct a green space playground in its parking lot, up from $5,000 it received last year; Shore Community Services, $13,541 for carpeting and floor work for a home on the 4300 block of Church Street, up from $4,500 it received last year; and Search, Inc., $24,750 to replace windows and doors for a group home on the 8700 block of Keeler Avenue, up from $15,000 it received last year.
Village staff is scheduled to make recommendations on funding allotment at the Village Board’s Feb. 4 meeting.
Van Dusen said that each of these agencies fill a “critical and essential” need.
“You all have made our jobs very difficult,” he said.