A group devoted to restoring West Bloomington has been awarded $1.5 million to build and renovate homes in the area. The West Bloomington Housing Collaborative received the grant from Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan in response to the state foreclosure crisis. Stacey Tutt is the Director of the Community Preservation Clinic at U of I's Law School. Tutt says they will use the money to build new homes and restore several others that are vacant or condemned. Even though the money will go toward a specific neighborhood, she says the renovation will benefit the entire city.
"It can create economic opportunities," she says. "It also helps create opportunites for our youth, can look at reduction in crime, and overall just a better environment for everyone within the Bloomington-Normal community."
Tutt says they are seeking volunteers and additional donations to make the project as successful as possible. In addition to housing, she says they will also provide financial coaching and other educational programs for residents.
"If we just came in and built a house, we're not building a community, and the idea of this grant is to build a community," she says.
Tutt says they are focused on a one-square-mile area bordered by Locust, Jackson, White Oak/Stillwell, and Lee. The WBHC is composed of Mid Central Community Action, the West Bloomington Revitalization Project, and McLean County's Habitat for Humanity.
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