Chicago Gets 1 Billion Dollars!

But what will we spend it on?

Help is on the way for the city of Chicago. The economic stimulus package is finally trickling down to cities, and Chicago is expected to take in $1 billion.  

That money will not be used to shore up budget problems, but instead for construction of public housing, paving pot holes and CTA rail improvements.

President Barack Obama's hometown fared well -- and there's a chance of more government dollars once the state and county divides up its share.

"This is good news," Mayor Daley said.

At the same time, he cautions the economy is "still scary" with layoffs and people unable to pay their mortgages and college bills. The city will now put its projects up for bid and hopes to have the construction jobs up and running by this summer.

Part of the stimulus also includes summer jobs for teens -- there will be money for more than 7,000 youth jobs. In all, the city estimates there will be 16,000 jobs created or saved through the recovery plan.

The federal funds will go into these areas, according to a release from the city:

  • Improving education
  • Building and modernizing infrastructure, including streets and mass transit
  • Addressing critical housing needs, including homelessness and the foreclosure crisis
  • Creating jobs and training workers
  • Maximizing energy efficiency and conservation, and
  • Enhancing public safety

These are the specific projects the city has in mind:

  • Rehabilitate over 900 units of CHA housing.
  • Provide emergency housing assistance to nearly 13,000 families.
  • Provide job training for more than 5,000 people, including green job training and technology training and other jobs of the future such as health care, hospitality and transportation.
  • Offer substance abuse & mental health assistance for more than 1,000 low-income residents.
  • Install energy efficient traffic lights at 800 intersections, convert 235 city blocks to energy efficient street lamps, and make energy efficient improvements in city buildings to reduce the cost of government by $3.5 million per year.
  • Expand assistance for energy retrofitting in about 1,000 units of housing.
  • Provide short- and medium-term assistance to more than 7,000 households in danger of becoming homeless.
  • Offer assistance to low income Chicagoans and help them access public benefits including food assistance, LIHEAP and EITC.
  • Provide more resources to supplement our current home foreclosure counseling programs and offer more affordable home loan and refinancing options for those who have lost their jobs.
  • Help transition foreclosed condos into affordable rental units.
  • Construct or rehabilitate 700 units of affordable rental housing.
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