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Champaign County Regional Planning Commission assistance programs.

Several counties are supported by the Champaign County Regional Planning Commission, including Ford, Iroquois, and of course residents of Champaign. Resources include housing assistance in the form of rent help, TANF cash assistance, and government programs such as weatherization.

They are one of the leading agencies in the region and can provide income qualified families from Champaign and other nearby areas with help. Another focus is on coordinating self-sufficiency, and that can include job search assistance or career placement services.

Champaign County Regional Planning Commission provides assistance to seniors, low-income clients and the disabled who are struggling to pay off their energy bills. Grants are offered from CCRPC through the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). A one-time benefit, which depends on the households total income, household size, type of fuel used and geographic location, is provided to eligible low-income households.

In order to qualify, the program does not require applicants to be having an overdue bill or cut-off notice. Or they do not need to use just natural gas or electricity. Additionally, clients don’t have to be homeowners or pay their monthly energy bills directly to be eligible for assistance, so it is for renters too.

When facing a crisis, LIHEAP also provides emergency financial assistance in case of disconnection from a heating source or fuel provider. Or funds may be issued when client’s tank contains 10% or less of capacity. However, reconnection assistance is provided to those clients who can that pay a portion of the outstanding debt and those who show willingness to pay their energy services regularly.

LIHEAP is funded by the state of Illinois and mostly from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Energy and heating bill assistance is provided by local community action agencies or not-for-profit agencies throughout the state, including in Champaign and Ford County. The Regional Planning Commission is the LIHEAP provider for Champaign County. Clients can apply for the assistance by contacting their area’s agency provider.

Housing assistance, including referrals to financial support, is part of the Advocacy Program, or HAP. It provides assistance with the housing needs of the poor and low income in all regions, including Iroquois County. It works by ensuring a case worker is made available for each family.




A case manager from CCRPC provides referral to an emergency shelter or transitional housing program in Champaign. They also have information on public housing offer apartment listings. They also act as mediators between clients and landlords to prevent evictions.

Clients receive transportation to view apartments or to domestic violence shelters. The program provides individuals with access to income assistance programs as well, including money for paying first months rent or the security deposit. Or get information on community resources or loan programs that will help them meet their needs. Case workers provide follow-up services to prevent future housing problems. Additionally, the assistance to obtain subsidized housing is also available.

Case mangers provide information on resources such as food stamps or the Illinois Department of Human Services' (IDHS). Public aid benefits are available across the counties, including Champaign and Iroquois, to clients with the help of a DCFS caseworker.

Another resource is the CSBG - Community Services Block Grant Scholarship Program. This operates as a competitive program where participants receive funds and financial aid for paying their educational expenses for an academic year. Not all applicants are guaranteed to receive financial assistance from the agency or part of CSBG.

The amount of the scholarship depends on factors such as available funds and the number of total qualified applicants. The agency provides approximately $4,000- $5,000 each year for the program. The program is administered by the Regional Planning Commission and it is funded by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

Tenant-Based Rental Assistance, or TBRA, is available from the Champaign Regional Planning Commission - CCRPC. The organization provides assistance to homeless and those in risk of being evicted. All of the funds are offered through the TBRA (Tenant-Based Rental Assistance) program.

The goal is to help homeless obtain affordable housing and those in risk retain housing. This housing program pays a portion of future or back rent for eligible clients who designed a plan for becoming self-sufficient. Some funds for utility or security deposits may be paid by TBRA too. The plan needs to display the ability of the client to pay full rent upon completion of the program, which lasts for two and at most 24 months.

Senior Services are available to eligible elderly aged 60 and older as well as their spouses. The program can help them in order to help them live in a dignified and independent way.





The program offers comprehensive information to older individuals as well as telephone consultations, private office visits, and home visits. Additionally, referrals to other community programs and services in Champaign Illinois are also provided by staff. In collaboration with other community agencies, senior Services tends to promote senior issues through educational seminars and workshops.

Self-sufficiency is part of the No Limits program. This offers services targeted to provide a quality life for enrolled applicants. Program participants receive help and guidance from a Case Manager, whose major aim is to help enrolled clients achieve long term stability/self-sufficiency.

Getting out of poverty, locating life sustaining wages and moving towards prosperity is the motto of this step by step program. It offers families with proper guidance that is designed to help clients change their habits that will lead them to a prosperous future. Achieving self-sufficiency is an overall goal of the No Limits program.
Clients and Case Managers relationship is important for achieving clients’ goals. They meet at least weekly at first. Then, in order to bring the participants closer to their goals, such as employment, education, housing and budgeting, they plan together and carry out activities related to these goals.

Loans for repairs may be issued from the Housing Rehabilitation Program. The non-profit Champaign County Regional Planning Commission provides financial help to eligible low-income residents of Champaign County through the Housing Rehabilitation service.

The program offers a variety of low interest or maybe deferred loans for comprehensive home repairs. The funds address threats to health and safety (electrical, plumbing need and  heating systems, roofing defects), weatherization and free energy conservation measures (energy efficiency improvement), and general property improvements or repairs. In all instances, loan assistance is based on funding availability.

The funding will be low interest, deferred, or loans may be issued under other terms. The bottom line is there are different ways to fund the repairs to a home and make improvements to it.

IHWAP, or the Illinois Home Weatherization Assistance Program, is offered from the Champaign County Regional Planning Commission. The agency provides services for saving fuel and money on heating bills. It was created by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Eligible low-income clients can increase the comfort of their homes and save dollars via these government created weatherization services. Homeowners may qualify for weather stripping and caulking, windows and doors repair, attic and wall insulation, or even window replacement.

An experienced heating contractor from Regional Planning Commission performs  heating system assessment. If needed, this can lead cleaning and tuning, repairing, retrofitting and replacing the heating system.

Individuals with developmental disabilities, care givers and their families residing in Champaign, Ford and Iroquois Counties are eligible for the ISC program. A number of activities are provided in order to help them access services and assistance programs. The goal of the CCRPC program is to meet the needs of each participant that will result in achieving self-sufficiency and community inclusion. To meet this goal, the ISC acts as an advocate, resource, and partner for the clients.




Illinois employment resources are part of the RPC Workforce Development Services. It was designed to satisfy the needs of the nation's businesses, local employers and the needs of job seekers by serving as a base for a unique workforce resource and employment system.

The employment program is also designed for clients who want to take their careers, and earnings, to the next level. The Act focuses on meeting the needs of companies in their quest for skilled staff and needs of the individual related to the training, skillset, and overall employment.

The RPC Workforce Development Services program offers clients with access to information and services from many tools. One of the main ones is the Illinois workNet system. In addition, the program enables clients to find most the most appropriate training for them through Individual Training Accounts.

Address of the Champaign County Regional Planning Commission is 1776 East Washington Street, Urbana, IL 61802. Telephone: (217) 328-3313

By Jon McNamara

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