The City of Kankakee Receives $175,000 Strong Communities Program Grant


The City of Kankakee Receives $175,000 Strong Communities Program Grant


December 29, 2020

KANKAKEE, Ill. (December 28, 2020) – The City of Kankakee received a $175,000 grant under the new Strong Communities Program (SCP) through the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) board. 


The City will use these funds as part of the creation of a blight reduction strategy that includes the formation of a regional land bank in partnership with the County. Kankakee County also received an identical $175,000 grant award toward this land bank. The SCP grant creates an opportunity to leverage additional resources to help clear property and prepare it for inspection. With an inspection on hand from the City’s Building and Code department, ECDA can then identify properties that are rehab-able by private entities or partners. Furthermore, the ECDA can identify properties that can benefit from the services of the land bank and establish properties the City can manage through its rehab programs. Clearing these properties is a positive step toward neighborhood stabilization for the City of Kankakee.


"As a result of community surveys, engagement with residents, and one of the pillars of the Kankakee Forward agenda, reducing blight and diversifying housing in the City of Kankakee remains a priority for the administration.  I want to commend the ECDA team for being proactive in seeking this opportunity and congratulate them on their success in securing the grant award.  In partnership with our County leaders, we have an opportunity to make an impact to strengthen neighborhoods," said Mayor Wells-Armstrong.


The IHDA Board approved $10 million in funding to support affordable housing and community revitalization efforts across the state. Awarded under the new Strong Communities Program (SCP), the initiative will provide funding to 68 units of local governments and land bank authorities for the acquisition, maintenance, rehabilitation and demolition of abandoned residential properties in their communities, according to the IHDA press release.


“This grant helps the City with neighborhood stabilization initiatives while working in partnership with the County on the creation of a land bank organization.  Each entity having access to these funds allows us to work collaboratively and strategically to reduce blight in our region.  As a result of this partnership, both entities can leverage resources for greater impact," said Barbi Brewer-Watson, Executive Director of the Economic and Community Development Agency (ECDA).


The City has already identified about 112 properties that qualify for this program. The program is funded by Governor Pritzker’s bipartisan Rebuild Illinois capital plan, the first capital plan in nearly a decade, according to the IHDA press release.


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About the Economic and Community Development Agency (ECDA):

The Kankakee Economic and Community Development (ECDA) is a local government agency whose mission is to improve the lives of Kankakee residents and enhance the economic vitality of communities through housing, economic development and community development. The ECDA administers programs that serve the neighborhoods and residents of the City of Kankakee provided by federal, state and local funding. For more information, contact ECDA at 815-933-0506, Monday – Friday between 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visit our website at


About the City of Kankakee, Illinois:

The City of Kankakee is dedicated to protecting, building and nurturing the community while enhancing lives. We are a historic, vibrant and active riverfront community. We continue to transform into an extraordinary place to dream, grow and thrive. Embracing our diversity, we strive to be progressive, inclusive and innovative. For more information on the City of Kankakee, please visit the website at


About the Illinois Housing Development Authority:

IHDA ( is a self-supporting state agency that finances the creation and the preservation of affordable housing across Illinois. Since its creation in 1967, IHDA has allocated $18 billion and financed approximately 255,000 affordable housing units for residents of Illinois.