In This Issue


445...that is the number of children that opened gifts under the holiday tree last year due to the Project Santa Program.

It is because of donations and sponsorships that Project Santa has been able to help and assist children in need for over 30 years in Hancock, Henderson, McDonough and Warren counties.

With the current State budget crisis, the success of the program is even more in the hands of the hard working Project Santa staff and generosity of the many volunteers and contributors.  We hope you will be one of those individuals this year.

To sponsor a child or family or make a donation, please visit the WIRC website

Important Application Dates for Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

The Western Illinois Regional Council-Community Action Agency (WIRC-CAA) will be making Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) appointments for low income households, beginning November 1, 2015 for families with children under six years of age and disconnected households. Beginning December 1, the general public may call for appointments.

Emergency assistance may be available to households disconnected from an energy source needed for heating, or if a delivered-fuel supplier has refused to deliver AND the tank contains ten percent or less. For renters, if utilities are included in the rent, then the rent amount must be greater than 30% of the household's gross monthly income to receive assistance. Households that receive emergency funding must meet a "good faith" requirement within the past 90 days of the application date.

A household may qualify to receive energy assistance if the gross income for all household members for 30 days prior to the application date does not exceed the following levels:
$1,471 for a one-person household,
$1,991 for a two-person household,
$2,511 for a three-person household,
$3,031 for a four-person household,
For each additional household member, add $520.

The WIRC-CAA in  Macomb administers the program in  Hancock, Henderson, McDonough and Warren counties.  Individuals can call 309-837-2997 or come to the office at 223 South Randolph in Macomb to schedule an appointment. Staff will be making appointments for various outreach sites as well as in Macomb.
  Click here for more information.

DIRECTIONS  - Suzan Nash, Executive Director  

"With our current budget impasse, the situation can only get worse for the working poor, the elderly and children living in poverty."
I recently came across an article written by Mother Jones' Washington Bureau Reporter Erika Eichelberger and found it interesting.   While this article may not totally represent this rural region, given our current State budget situation and some of the impacts the impasse is having on those less fortunate, I thought I would share it.  The article is entitled 10 Poverty Myths, Busted and reads as follows:  
  •  Single moms are the problem. Only nine percent of low-income, urban moms have been single throughout their child's first five years. Thirty-five percent were married to, or in a relationship with, the child's father for that entire time.*
  •  Black dads are the problem. Among men who don't live with their children, black fathers are more likely than white or Hispanic dads to have a daily presence in their kids' lives.
  • Poor people are lazy. In 2004, there was at least one adult with a job in 60 percent of families on food stamps that had both kids and a nondisabled, working-age adult.  If you're not officially poor, you're doing okay. The federal poverty line for a family of two parents and two children in 2012 was $23,283. Basic needs cost at least twice that in 615 of America's cities and regions.
  •  Go to college, get out of poverty. In 2012, about 1.1 million people who made less than $25,000 a year, worked full time, and were heads of household, had a bachelor's degree.**
  •  We're winning the war on poverty. The number of households with children living on less than $2 a day per person has grown 160 percent since 1996, to 1.65 million families in 2011.
  •  The days of old ladies eating cat food are over. The share of elderly single women living in extreme poverty jumped 31 percent from 2011 to 2012.
  •  The homeless are drunk street people. One in 45 kids in the United States experiences homelessness each year. In New York City alone, 22,000 children are homeless.
  •  Handouts are bankrupting us. In 2012, total welfare funding was 0.47 percent of the federal budget.

*Source: Analysis by Dr. Laura Tach at Cornell University
**Source: Census

Per the Heartland Alliance's Report on Illinois Poverty and the individual county breakdown for 2013, the average poverty rate in the four county region served by this agency was 15.3%.  This average included the range of 12.2% and 21.1% for Hancock and McDonough counties respectively.  With our current budget impasse, the situation can only get worse for the working poor, the elderly and children living in poverty.  Additionally, there are those in the middle class who have been laid off due to the economic ripple effects and others who may be only one paycheck away from becoming poverty strickened themselves.  

Isn't it time to move forward?

16 Communities Apply for Disaster Recovery Funds
With assistance from the WIRC Community Development staff, 16 communities submitted DRPI applications.
The Western Illinois Regional Council staff submitted 16 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Disaster Recovery Public Infrastructure (DRPI) applications to the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity during the months of July and August.   The CDBG-DRPI program was designed to support projects that FEMA or other sources cannot fund, but which are nevertheless critical to recovery.  Examples of projects included water/sewer systems, storm drainage systems, and levee systems damaged by storm/flood, roads and bridges needing immediate, short-term repair/restoration or which can support long-term flood/storm mitigation efforts.  Only units of general local government within Illinois counties identified as (FEMA) federal disaster counties as a result of the disasters that occurred in 2011, 2012, and 2013 and that received  a federal designation of "public assistance" were eligible.  All counties and communities within the WIRC's six county service region were eligible. 

Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program 
Application Period Opens Soon 

The U. S. Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) awards grants to fire departments and nonaffiliated emergency medical service organizations across the U. S. annually. The Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program offers grants for equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training, and other resources. Applications are expected to be open in early November. To find out if a project you are considering is eligible or to find out more about the program, please visit: Assistance to Firefighters Grant.

WIRC and the GIS Center -
Providing Possibilities in Mapping Technology

The Western Illinois Regional Council is in the beginning stages of collaboration with Western Illinois University's GIS (Geographic Information System) Center to provide an opportunity for its communities to investigate the various mapping services provided by the Center.  The WIU GIS Center, housed in the Department of Geography and on the third floor of Tillman Hall on the WIU campus, serves the McDonough County GIS Consortium: a partnership between the City of Macomb, McDonough County and Western Illinois University.  The Center is responsible for compiling, managing and storing GIS data layers for the Consortium.  The Center has completed GIS and GPS (Global Positioning System) work for various federal, state and local entities, has partnered with WIU faculty members on research projects, and provides hands-on GIS and GPS training for Western Illinois University students.    Read more...

Grant Information Available 
The WIRC staff recently completed a grant bulletin.  While not all inclusive, this document is a listing with details on grants available which might be of interest to units of government or economic developers primarily from federal and state sources.  The information was compiled and sent out in September to area units of government and economic developers in the region.  If you have not received a copy, or you would like additional copies, click here. If you have questions about a particular funding program, please call Michael at the WIRC office at 309/837-3941 or email him at Completion of this project was made possible through funding received from the Economic Development Administration.  

ICADV's Latest Annual Homicide Report is More Than Grim 
During October's Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I posted several national statistics about the violence experienced in families and between intimate partners.  Did you know intimate partner violence is the leading cause of injury and death during pregnancy?  Did you know that women who are victims of domestic violence are EIGHT TIMES more likely to be killed by an intimate partner if there are firearms in the home?  

These aren't just national facts.  These are Illinois facts as well.  The Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV) released its annual homicide report for Fiscal Year 2015 (July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015).  There were 35 domestic violence (DV) homicide incidents that took the lives of 49 persons in Illinois during that time.  
TCRCF Celebrated 10th Anniversary
On Wednesday, September 23, the Tri-County Regional Collection Facility (TCRCF) celebrated its 10th year in operation.  During those 10 years, there have been dramatic industry changes in both recycling regulations and procedures and the growing development of electronic devices.
The facility has adjusted to those changes and looks forward to the next 10 years of successful operation.    
Western Illinois Regional Council
223 South Randolph St.
Macomb, IL 61455
(309) 837-3941
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