Groups seek grants for community development

Lisa Glass

Better Existence with HIV wants a drug testing van. Ridgeville Park District officials want new playground equipment. The YWCA wants to enhance its domestic violence program.

These organizations and nine others lobbied Wednesday for a share of an estimated $3 million in federal community development block grants (CDBG) at an Evanston Housing and Community Development Act Committee meeting.

“CDBG funding is an important piece of our funding pie,” said Christie Daley, an Evanston YWCA official.

The YWCA applied for $37,000 in CDBG funds. The grants are the only city funds that the YWCA receives, she said.

Daley said the YWCA’s domestic violence program helps more than 700 people a year with programs ranging from counseling and an emergency hotline to transitional housing and job placement.

The housing and development committee is scheduled to allocate federal CDBG funds in December. The money will go to organizations that help the community’s low- and moderate-income families.

“It’s very important for the city to be able to fund these projects they would otherwise not be able to accommodate,”said Sally Lufkin, Evanston’s CDBG grants administrator.

The committee received requests from 27 organizations totaling more than $4 million, $1 million more than the committee has to distribute.

The committee gave out about $3 million in 2000, and Lufkin said it expects to do the same this year.

Ridgeville Park District applied for $10,000 to build three new playground structures at Elks Park on Callan and Mulford.

“Great things happen at Elks Park,” said Brian Rosinski, director of parks and recreation for Ridgeville Park District. “It’s a very densely populated neighborhood with a lot of children.”

BEHIV, an AIDS prevention and support organization, requested $14,000 to enrich its youth programs and buy a van.

Ald. Steven Bernstein (4th) and Ann Rainey (8th) said they were concerned because Northwestern doesn’t help pay for BEHIV’s weekly on-campus HIV testing.

“I’m talking about the big purple NU,” Rainey said. “Next year I’m going to want to see some kind of fund-matching coming out of Northwestern. They have more money than the city of Evanston. They have more money than God.”

In its current agreement with NU Health Services, BEHIV provides free HIV testing to NU students every Tuesday.

BEHIV president John Aims said he strongly agreed that NU should help pay for the testing.

Connie Willegal from Girl Scouts Illinois Crossroads Council spoke to the committee about the council’s application for $14,000 to supplement its contemporary awareness programs.

Contemporary awareness classes are non-traditional girl scouting programs that usually take place in public schools, Willegal said. The programs include education about sexual harassment, communications skills, violence, abusive relationships and self esteem.

The Center for Enriched Living requested about $24,600 to support its facility in Riverwoods.

The center provides a social environment that helps Chicago-area mentally retarded people lead more well-rounded lives, said Ann White, the center’s associate director of development.

The Housing and Community Development committee is scheduled to review more applications at its Oct. 23 and Oct. 30 meetings. The committee is scheduled to recommend allocation of its share of CDBG funds at its Nov. 15 meeting.

A public hearing and final approval meeting is scheduled to be held in December.