Grant funds come primarily from the state and federal governments, and make up a significant and recurring source of revenue for the City. These funds are used to support a range of City services, including community development, human services, and infrastructure. Click here for grant fund revenue detail.
Grant funding supports a wide array of City services and functions. The chart below presents the amount of grant funding dedicated to different program types over the past eleven years, and each program category is further discussed below. The chart below provides a specific breakout for programs supported by the Community Development Block Grant program.
Please note that the expenditure amounts reflected in the above charts and discussed below include any carryover grant funding actually spent in that year. As discussed in the Grant Revenue section, the City budgets the entire grant award in the year it is anticipated to be awarded, and amounts remaining at the end of that year are carried over into the next year’s budget; this funding is called carryover funding. Therefore, the expenditures provided reflect the grant funding actually spent in a given year, whether carryover or new grant funds.
Grant funding provides a portion of the funding needed to support programs and services delivered by the City. It is often paired with corporate funding or other City dollars, and is used to leverage private dollars to fund critical investments in community services, affordable housing, public safety and infrastructure.
Many community service programs provided through the Department of Family and Support Services, the Department of Public Health, the Chicago Public Library, and the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities are funded through federal, state and private grants. Approximately 33.0 percent of the City’s total grant funding has supported community service programs over the last eleven years.
Community service grant funding supports a wide range of activities, including job training and workforce development, childcare and early learning services, homeless shelters and other homeless services, prisoner re-entry programs, bioterrorism preparedness, HIV/AIDS prevention, senior support services, programs for people with disabilities, and funding for library construction and library programs. For example, the Department of Family and Support Services’ Homeless Division receives federal and state grants along with City tax and non-tax revenues. The Department utilizes $28.7 million in grant funds annually to provide over 3,000 beds in overnight and interim housing shelters, outreach and engagement to approximately 5,000 individuals living on the streets, emergency rental assistance, services for homeless prevention, and permanent housing services.
Additionally, the Department of Public Health receives multiple federal grants to support their work on HIV outreach, testing, and medical assistance, and housing for people living with HIV/AIDS. The $27.7 million Ryan White Part A program funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides 3,600 Chicagoans living with HIV access to primary care and support services.
Infrastructure Services is composed of the Chicago Department of Aviation, Department of Transportation (CDOT), Department of Water Management, and Department of Streets and Sanitation. Approximately 28 percent of the City’s annual grant funds support infrastructure work administered by these departments.
CDOT receives the most grant funding of any City department, and many Chicago transportation-related projects are funded, at least in part, through state or federal grants. In 2017, CDOT is utilizing $18.76 million from the Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants – a highly competitive federal grant program – to support construction of the 41st Street Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge at Lake Shore Drive. Additionally, CDOT annually receives federal Surface Transportation Program (STP) funds for transportation improvement projects in the City. Active infrastructure projects in 2017 will access over $66 million of STP funds throughout the design and construction phases. STP funds are the primary source of funding used to pay for resurfacing of arterial streets and constructing the associated sidewalk accessibility ramps throughout Chicago.
In the chart above, all aviation grant funds were included as part of total infrastructure grant funding until 2012. Given the size and scope of aviation related grants, beginning in 2012, the City separated out aviation grant funds from other infrastructure grants. Aviation grants make up 8.0 percent of the City’s total grant funding since 2012. While the majority of these grants pay for infrastructure projects such as airport improvements and noise mitigation, the O’Hare and Midway airports combined receive nearly $100 million annually from the Transit Security Administration (TSA) for public safety purposes.
The Department of Planning and Development (DPD) and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) are the primary recipients of grant funding for city development functions. Over the last eleven years, city development grant funding has on average 14.0 percent of the City’s total annual grant awards.
In 2017, DPD is utilizing $7.6 million in funds from the Resilient Corridors Project to construct landscapes designed for stormwater collection. This large-scale construction project will create jobs and protect neighborhoods from flooding. Additionally, through the Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) program, DPD received $1 million in funding from the US Department of Agriculture to create an urban farming system based in Englewood. CIG aims to help potential farmers establish businesses in the agricultural industry and expand farming as a career option for Chicago residents.
Collectively, the Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC), the Chicago Police Department (CPD), and the Chicago Fire Department (CFD) receive a significant portion of the City’s overall grant funding, approximately 13.0 percent annually.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) grant programs, including the – Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI), Transit Security Grant Program (TSGP), Port Security Grant Program (PSGP), and the National Explosives Detection Canine Team Program (NEDCTP) – provided $128 million in new and carryover grant funding for public safety expenses in 2017. This grant funding supports equipment purchases, training, and personnel at CPD.
A $1.39 million Department of Justice grant helped to pay for the initial expansion of body cameras in CPD. This grant funding, coupled with City tax revenue, will allow the City to fully expand body cameras to every district in Chicago by the end of 2017.
The majority of the City’s regulatory grant funding supports conservation and environmental programs, including weatherization, electrical vehicle support, and alternative fuel development, and is managed largely by the Department of Fleet and Facility Management (2FM). Smaller amounts of grant funding are dedicated code enforcement and vacant building demolition activities administered by the Department of Buildings. Approximately 2.0 percent of the City’s average annual grant funding supports these types of programs.
Finance and Administration
The Office of Budget and Management, the Department of Innovation and Technology, the Department of Finance, and the Department of Law each receive grant funds to fulfill finance and administration functions for the City as well as perform work related to specific grants, such as Head Start, CDBG, and bioterrorism grant funding.
Grant Highlight: Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)
The CDBG program provides grant funding each year to support community development services targeted to low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. The City’s 2017 budget includes $81.1 million in CDBG funding. Approximately 47.0 percent of CDBG grant funding will support critical public services to individuals in need, including homeless prevention, workforce development, domestic violence, mental health, and senior and disability services. In addition, 28.0 percent of the funding supports housing initiatives that help residents find and maintain affordable housing. In recent years, CDBG supported:
• Critical infrastructure improvements on neighborhood streets and streets throughout Chicago. In 2014, the City used $15 million in CDBG funding to resurface 14.95 miles of deteriorated streets in low- and moderate-income areas.
• Workforce Development Programs are provided across Chicago using approximately $5.5 million of grant aid annually. Over 2,600 homeless individuals, low-income/low-skilled job-seekers or other disadvantaged job seekers benefit from job training and work readiness programs every year.
• The Neighborhood Lending Program (NLP), which provides loans to income-eligible homebuyers, receives an annual allocation of approximately $3 million in CDBG funds. Since 2003, NLP has used CDBG funding and other public dollars to leverage more than $300 million in private capital from local lending institutions to enable approximately 3,000 low- and moderate-income Chicago households to buy, improve and keep their homes.
While CDBG is less than ten percent of the City’s annual grant budget, it helps to supports many critical programs throughout Chicago.