Champaign City Council increases funding for youth programs

By Angelica Lavito

The Champaign City Council reviewed its Annual Action Plan for 2014-2015 at Tuesday’s meeting.

The council chose to pursue the recommended plan, which includes increasing funding to the city’s CommUnity Matters Program.

“These are the types of things when we talk about facilitating and helping things with violence, these are the things that curtail that,” said council member Will Kyles, District 1. “These programs give people meaningful opportunities they wouldn’t have otherwise.”

The action plan serves as the application for federal funds and aims to help achieve some of the city’s consolidated plan goals, such as neighborhood revitalization, tenant-based rental assistance and neighborhood-based economic development.

The city created an emergency tenant relocation plan in response to the recession, but the program has not been utilized, according to the study session report. Funds came from the city’s urban renewal fund, and now up to $25,000 from this fund will go towards the CommUnity Matters Program.

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    “The way that it’s set up is phenomenal,” Mayor Don Gerard said at the study session. “It’s a 21st century approach and is the best way to encapsulate all facets, well as many as we possibly can.”

    Leaders from the community spoke about how the CommUnity Matters Funds are used for programs that focus on helping the community’s youth.

    “The support of the program makes us able to be a resource for kids as a safe place to be during a time of year where there’s a lot of unhealthy, unsafe things they can get into,” said Sam Banks, director of the Don Moyer Boys and Girls Club.

    City staff will prepare a draft of the action plan that will be available online March 21. There will be two public hearings before the council formally votes on the plan on May 6.

    Angelica can be reached at [email protected].