Regional Review of the ARRA for Northeastern Illinois

Jun 01, 2010
  • Description

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) provides a unique opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of public policy intervention. Unprecedented strategies and investments were deployed to address the most severe recession since the Great Depression. The policy and programming solutions implemented by the ARRA were designed to not only stop economic decline, but also to build a stronger foundation for long-term economic prosperity. With over a year since the ARRA programs and policies came into effect, we can now assess initial progress, learn from accomplishments and challenges, and work to address obstacles to support better future success. It is critical we utilize this opportunity to ensure a successful recovery and lay the groundwork for effective future investments. To help our region capitalize on this opportunity and support long-term success, CMAP and the Chicago Community Trust convened the Regional ARRA Coordinating Council to develop targeted strategies for maximizing ARRA resources throughout the region, specifically for housing, energy, weatherization, and workforce development. The participating agencies include: The Center for Neighborhood Technology, Chicago Jobs Council, Community and Economic Development Association, Grand Victoria Foundation, Housing Action Illinois, Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, Metropolitan Planning Council, Metropolis 2020, and the Recovery Partnership. Drawing on the insight and knowledge of these agencies, we are able to obtain a detailed understanding that will enable our ability to succeed. The purpose of this report is to utilize the expert knowledge available through the Regional ARRA Coordinating Council in order to better understand the status of selected ARRA programs, identify opportunities, develop strategic responses to address challenges, and help ensure that these resources and future resources are used effectively and have a long-term impact. The ARRA is comprised of a complex and comprehensive set of investments. Several reports have recently emerged on the impact of these investments and policies, including Vice President Biden's Annual Report. Highlights from this report, an overview of the State of Illinois implementation of major ARRA programs, and key observations are summarized to help establish a context to better understand the factors that affect ARRA implementation. A regional overview of progress based on the most current data available is provided for the following programs: Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants (EECBG), Weatherization, Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing (HPRP), Workforce Investment Act (WIA) funding, competitive workforce development grants, and transportation formula and competitive funding. In addition, overviews of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP1), which was enacted through the Housing and Economic Recovery Act, and its successor, NSP2, which was funded through ARRA, are included. Foreseeable issues and recommendations on potential strategies to address challenges and support success are also provided.