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Partner Spotlight: City of Kankakee Economic and Community Development Agency

The Economic and Community Development Agency (ECDA) is a grant funded department of Kankakee’s City Government, led by Executive Director Barbara Brewer-Watson. They administer grant programs from federal, state, and local sources to provide assistance to the residents of Kankakee. Many grant programs have a focus on improving the quality of residences to ensure the accessibility of safe, healthy, and stable housing.

The agency’s longest running grant program is the Kankakee Lead Safe Housing Initiative, funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. For over twenty years, it has provided financial assistance to low-income homeowners to ensure their homes are safe for children, who are at the greatest risk for lead poisoning. Since the grant program began in early 1990s, ECDA has helped address lead in over 900 homes.

In early 2021, ECDA was awarded $1.4 million dollars for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Healthy Homes Production Grant Program. This program provides a comprehensive approach to addressing multiple housing-related health hazards at once, rather than addressing one hazard at a time. These hazards can include things like pests, mold, and radon, or even structural issues.

While a significant portion of ECDA’s work centers on community development, the agency also strives to improve the economic outlook of the city through business attraction and retention efforts. They act
as the primary location for new business licenses, and host monthly workshops for learning about starting and operating a business. An English-language workshop is held on the first Tuesday of every month at 5:30pm, and a Spanish-language workshop is held on the second Tuesday of every month at 5:30pm.

If you would like to learn more about ECDA or the programs the agency offers, stop by our office, call us,
or visit our website at!

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