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RACINE, Wis. — The City of Racine Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Advisory Board is scheduled to meet on Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2023, at 6 p.m. in Room 303 at City Hall. The meeting’s agenda, sponsored by Mayor Cory Mason, includes several key items for consideration.

1637 Packard St. project

The board will consider a request for $16,625 from the CDBG Loan Fund to cover the rehab cost of the 1637 Packard St. project. Staff have recommended approval, and the fiscal note indicates that there are sufficient funds in the CDBG Loan Fund account for this request.

Housing Resource Inc.

Contract Balance A request to allocate $13,443.23 from the FY23 Public Service Category to close the Housing Resource Inc. remaining FY22 contract balance is on the agenda. The staff recommendation is for approval using FY2023 CDBG Public Service funds.

Housing Resource Inc. is a non-profit organization that provides housing services and resources to individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless. The organization works to help people find safe, affordable housing, as well as access other resources such as job training, financial literacy classes, and crisis intervention counseling. They also provide support services such as case management, aftercare, and healthcare navigation. The ultimate goal of Housing Resource Inc. is to help people become self-sufficient and stay in their homes long-term.

Legal Action of Wisconsin funding

The board will discuss funding for Legal Action of Wisconsin‘s Economic Mobility through Civil Legal Aid Program with FY2023 CDBG Public Service funds. The request is for $48,086.18, with staff recommending approval.

Legal Action of Wisconsin is a non-profit legal aid organization that provides free civil legal services to low-income individuals and families in Wisconsin. It offers a range of services, including advice and representation in court, assistance with filing forms and documents, help with understanding and navigating the court system, information about rights under state and federal law, referrals to other agencies and organizations for additional support, and education and outreach on civil legal issues. Legal Action of Wisconsin seeks to ensure that all people have access to justice regardless of their income or background.

Racine Literacy Council’s Adult Basic Education Program

Funding for the Racine Literacy Council’s Adult Basic Education Program using FY23 CDBG funds is also up for consideration. The proposed sum is $10,423.59, with staff recommendation for approval.

The Adult Basic Education Program assists adult learners in improving their basic literacy skills, high school equivalency test preparation, and job readiness. This program is beneficial for the whole community as it helps to increase the self-sufficiency of our citizens. Furthermore, funding this program creates an opportunity for Racine County residents to access quality education.

The Literacy Council of Racine County provides a variety of services and resources for both adult learners and educators. The council holds free, one-on-one tutoring sessions to help adults learn English or acquire their high school equivalency. They also offer small group tutorial classes so that participants can work together to reach their learning goals. Additionally, the Literacy Council works with employers in Racine County to provide job preparedness classes and workshops. These classes help individuals gain the skills they need to get a job, such as interviewing tips, resume writing guidance, and career exploration advice.

The Literacy Council of Racine County is committed to providing access to education for all citizens in our community. With the support of local businesses and organizations, the council offers free classes and workshops on a variety of topics, including computer literacy, financial management, and even citizenship preparation. They also provide specialized assistance to Racine County’s underserved population, such as English language learners or individuals who are recovering from substance abuse issues. Through these services, the Literacy Council is helping more people in our community become successful citizens.

Grant allocation for CDBG economic development activities

A request for a grant allocation of up to $175,000 for CDBG-funded economic development activities is included in the agenda. The proposal is to fund WWBIC using FY2022 CDBG Micro-Enterprise funds, with staff recommending approval.

WWBIC (Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation) is a nonprofit economic development organization that works to empower entrepreneurs and small business owners in Wisconsin. They provide resources, financial education, and loans to those who are interested in launching or growing their business. They also have a lending program for start-ups and existing businesses with special loan products designed to meet the needs of women-owned businesses. WWBIC provides technical assistance and consulting services, as well as workshops and events to help entrepreneurs become successful. Finally, they offer an online Learning Center where users can access free educational resources to help them become better business owners.

Home repair loan and forgivable grant

The issuance of a CDBG Home Repair Loan and a forgivable CDBG grant to Ozella Hill of 515 Ninth Street for home repairs will be discussed. The consideration is for a $10,000 loan at 3% interest and a $10,000 forgivable grant, with staff recommending approval.

The CDBG Home Repair Loan is a loan offered by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to help low-income households pay for repairs to their primary residence. The loan can be used to make improvements that make the house safer and more livable, such as repairing water damage, creating access for disabled persons, replacing roofs or septic systems, and fixing electrical problems. The loan can also be used to replace furniture or appliances that have been damaged or destroyed due to weather events or other causes. The goal of this program is to help low-income families stay in their homes by enabling them to make necessary repairs and improvements.

The agenda for the Community Development Block Grant Advisory Board’s meeting shows a focus on various community development initiatives, with considerations on funding allocations for projects, education, and housing.

Persons with disabilities or who need information interpreted can contact the City Development Office at 262-636-9151 at least 48 hours prior to the meeting.

Note: This overview is based on the draft agenda provided by the City of Racine and reflects the items to be discussed during the meeting.

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Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.