In September 2021, Tri-County staff assisted METEC Resource Center and the Village of Peoria Heights in submitting a joint application for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Healthy Homes Production Grant Program.
The purpose of the proposed program was to work with low- to moderate-income residents to remediate homes that are deficient in housing safety. Eligible hazards and issues include radon, windows, doors, siding, pest control, mold/moisture remediation, minor roof/structural repairs, electrical, excess cold and heat, and trip/fall hazards, among others. METEC, a financial and housing assistance hub, has previous experience in housing rehabilitation services. METEC received $650,000 from the Edwards Coal-Fired Plant Settlement to provide energy-efficiency upgrades for lower-income homes in Pekin and Peoria’s South Side.
In winter 2022, our project team received word that the $2,000,000 application was successful. Since then, our team has been overseeing the administrative process for the 42-month grant term. Each home receiving remediation is required to undergo an environmental assessment per the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended. Environmental reviews are eligible to be completed by a Responsible Entity, which is a local unit of government or state. Since METEC is a non-profit organization, HUD requires a local governmental entity encompassing all four zip codes to function as the Responsible Entity to take over the environmental review responsibilities.
As an existing project team member, Tri-County is functioning as the Responsible Entity by providing some oversight. This involves making independent evaluations of possible environmental issues, determining any required scope and content for remediating any compliance issues, and making the final environmental decision concerning project approval. In addition to being the Responsible Entity, TCRPC staff have also undertaken the procurement of housing inspection services and contractors.
An estimated 130 to 150 homes will be rehabilitated due to the HUD Healthy Homes Grant. This number is in addition to the 35 homes METEC was able to rehabilitate using the Edwards Coal-Fired Plant Settlement funding. Furthermore, METEC was recently awarded $600,000 from the Illinois Housing Development Authority Home Repair and Accessibility Program. Through these programs and more, METEC has a profound impact on the Greater Peoria Community.
Additionally, their staff assists individuals and families with housing counseling; job preparation, placement, and training; financial literacy; tax preparation; and access to legal resources.