Dems deliver! This is certainly true on the DuPage County Board. As Chair of both the Judicial and Public Safety and the Health & Human Services Committees, I’m proud to share the achievements of the first ever majority Democratic County Board.Our Board exerted tremendous effort judiciously allocating $179M in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) grants under the leadership of Finance Chair Liz Chaplin. In addition to supporting struggling businesses, we chose to support impactful projects that will benefit the County for years to come.
On Human Services, made up wholly of Democrats, we won bipartisan support for $10.8M funding for mental health and substance abuse programs, food insecurity, and preventing homelessness. Prioritizing preventing homelessness, HHS collaborated with PADS, committing $5M, renovating a hotel into a homeless shelter. While we wish residents would never experience the difficulties of homelessness, we recognized early on in the pandemic that a hotel room was preferable in privacy, health, and safety to mobile shelter, especially for families.
As a pro bono attorney, it was a priority to assist pro se clients during eviction processes. Our Community Services division added outreach to educate residents on options and funded Prairie State Legal attorneys, and DuPage Bar mediators as advocates in the eviction court. I can report that, according to Illinois Department of Housing figures, DuPage County leads the state in court-based rental assistance. DuPage has administered $24.5M in federal grants toward rent assistance, preventing eviction for over 2,500 residents.
The DuPage County Care Center takes wonderful care of our seniors and vulnerable residents, largely low-income residents, and will receive $20M for much-needed structural and aesthetic improvements. The goal? Attracting and serving as a valuable nursing resource for more County residents.
And despite Republican aspersions, Democrats strongly supported law enforcement with millions spent funding criminal justice supports such as body cameras, officer training, and wages. In Judicial and Public Safety, we approved funding for a much-needed build-out of the Judicial Center. Our bipartisan team worked with the Chief Judge, Probation, State’s Attorney, Public Defender, selecting a $19 M plan to address long-standing space challenges and newer legislative requirements. When the county-wide MERIT task force requested a command center and armored vehicle, I urged JPS members to consult law enforcement partners. The result? Democrats unanimously approved MERIT’s request.
So, if anyone asks- Yes, Democrats do deliver.