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Local News

Funding for Des Plaines Gardens Homes project rejected

Housing authority will try again

JOLIET – A Housing Authority of Joliet plan to replace low-income residences at Des Plaines Gardens Homes with mixed-income homes and duplexes failed to receive state funding.

HAJ applied in March to the Illinois Housing Development Authority for low-income housing tax credits. Under the program, tax credits are purchased by private investors, typically corporations or banks, and the subsequent funding used for redevelopment.

HAJ hoped to replace most of Des Plaines Gardens Homes’ 122 low-income housing units and redevelop the site with 69 single-family homes and duplexes.

Michael Simelton, HAJ’s chief executive officer, said he was disappointed with the decision, but remained optimistic that IHDA would approve funding.

“This is not our first rodeo,” Simelton said. “We’ve had a couple of IHDA awards in the past. Phase I for Liberty Meadows was awarded on our first try. Phase II took three attempts.”

Simelton said HAJ received clarification on what it needs for the next round of IHDA applications on July 25. The agency was told by IHDA to identify a remediation funding source should any contamination be found on the site. IHDA also wants the Joliet agency to list a staff member with experience in dealing with blended income housing.

“It’s pretty straightforward,” Simelton said.

Simelton said he expects to hear back on the next application by mid-September. If the project fails to receive funding, HAJ would then re-apply next spring.

“We’re going to keep trying,” Simelton said.

HAJ was able to just meet IHDA’s March 31 submission deadline following 11th hour negotiations with Joliet over housing density, utility access and stormwater detention on the 7-acre site.

Residents displaced by the demolition would receive housing vouchers and be given first option of moving back into the redeveloped facility.

Housing units not replaced at Des Plaines Gardens eventually could be transferred to HAJ’s Liberty Meadow Estates facility, where the authority has land available for additional construction.

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