HOOPESTON — The U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development sent a $250,000 Emergency Safety and Security Grant to the Vermilion County Housing Authority for security cameras at Parkview Court in Hoopeston.
Vermilion County Housing Authority Executive Director Jaclyn Vinson said residents’ safety and security was their priority, adding, “Funding for such projects is hard to come by, so this grant is truly welcomed.”
John Shimkus, congressman from Illinois District 15, announced the grant in July, saying, “Congress sets aside an annual appropriation that allows HUD to provide assistance to public housing agencies for emergency capital needs, including safety and security measures necessary to address crime and drug-related activity as well as needs resulting from unforeseen or unpreventable emergencies.”
Shimkus added that for fiscal year 2020, HUD has $20 million available to fund grants for capital needs arising from emergency and non-presidentially declared disasters occurring between Oct. 1, 2019 and Sept. 30, 2020.
Vermilion County State’s Attorney Jacqueline Lacy stated, “The law-abiding citizens of our community deserve to be free from the threat of violence. I commend the housing authority for making security investments for the safety of their residents.”
Vinson said the housing authority must go through a process for the money. First they have to file a request for proposal, which must be “well thought out and well planned” considering the amount of money they received, publish a legal statement in the local newspapers which, at this time, Vinson said, may be published in September or October, and then advertise for bids for 30-40 days.
Following the advertising, the bids will be brought before the board and one contractor’s quote will be chosen. Once the contractor is decided, the Vermilion County Housing Authority board will begin working with the selected contractor. Although Vinson said the housing authority has up to two years to complete the projected work, it is hoped to be completed “within six months after the board” makes a decision.
“Crime prevention and/or crime assistance is a great thing in today’s policing,” Hoopeston Police Department Chief Jim DeWitt said. “Community relations is still a big part; however, today the vast majority of crimes can be detoured or prevented if cameras are encountered.”
He added, “The idea of having the assistance when and if a crime takes place, or in progress, can be captured in real time will improve our response and findings. Overall the cameras will be an extra set of eyes for the overall security of the complex and will assist us in so many valuable ways.”
Vinson is director of the Vermilion County Housing Authority, as well as the Housing Authority of the City of Danville.