July 07, 2022

Congressman Casten Announces Committee Passage of Over $16 Million in Federal Funding for 14 Community Projects to Address Mental Health Crisis, Provide Affordable Childcare and Health care, Protect Domestic Abuse Survivors, Combat Climate Change

***For Immediate Release***

Contact: Emilia.Rowland@mail.house.gov (330) 212-2065

Congressman Casten Announces Committee Passage of Over $16 Million in Federal Funding for 14 Community Projects to Address Mental Health Crisis, Provide Affordable Childcare and Health care, Protect Domestic Abuse Survivors, Combat Climate Change, Fight Hunger, and Improve Community Safety  

Washington, D.C. (July 7th, 2022) - The House Appropriations Committee passed $16,274,400 in federal funding for 14 of Sean Casten (IL-06)’s community project funding proposals, which will now advance to the House floor for final passage. The 14 projects will provide housing to victims of domestic abuse, address the mental health crisis, provide quality health care to those who might not otherwise be able to access it, deliver cleaner air and water, help underserved children, improve safety, boost economic opportunity and more. 

Casten said, “With passage by the House Appropriations Committee, I’m proud to have moved one step closer to delivering funding for projects that will do so much to improve the lives of folks in Chicagoland. From treating students’ mental health needs, helping survivors of domestic abuse, and improving access to health care to electrifying our local school buses, cleaning our air, and drinking water, these projects will do so much for our community.”

Earlier this year, Casten delivered nearly $8 million in federal funding for 10 community projects to benefit IL-06 and the Chicagoland community–including affordable housing and mental health services for LGBTQ+ youth at 360 Youth Services, and academic support programs to target learning loss due to COVID-19 at the Boys and Girls Club of East Dundee.

For FY2023, Rep. Casten championed funding for projects that will directly benefit the 6th district, including include:

 B.R. Ryall YMCA of Northwestern DuPage County: $2 million in funding that would be used to repurpose, modernize, and expand program spaces. Specifically, the funds will be used to increase affordable infant/toddler care; ADA accessibility; and teen-focused areas for STEAM learning, health, and social programs 

 “On behalf of the B.R. Ryall YMCA, we are so grateful that Congressman Casten recognized the importance and value of our community funding project request to repurpose, modernize and expand program spaces within our Y. Thanks to the Congressman’s efforts and support, this potential funding will allow us to address significant community-identified needs to create additional space for affordable infant and toddler child care; improve ADA accessibility in our facility; and create teen-focused areas for STEAM learning, health and social programming.” said Rob Wilkinson CEO, B. R. Ryall YMCA of Northwestern DuPage County

In March, Casten paid a visit to the B.R. Ryall YMCA to tour the facilities, discuss affordable quality child care and teen mental health in the community, and meet with the Bright Beginnings Preschool class–which inspired him to advocate for the YMCA program to receive funding. View photos and video from the visit here

WINGS Program, Inc: $200,000 in funding for Capital Rehabilitation of WINGS Safe Houses. For 37 years, WINGS has been helping women, men and children to escape domestic violence. WINGS provides safe emergency shelter, housing, counseling, mentoring and other supportive services to ensure that the cycle of violence ends for each family. 

Worry Free Community: $144,800 to make capital improvements to support a larger spectrum of healthcare needs by hosting a community health worker call center and running programs to support data collection and community needs assessment for underserved, uninsured and new immigrant communities in IL District-06 and surrounding areas. 

“We are honored to have our community project selected by Sean Casten and his team who have fought for shared values promoting peace and wellness across communities. This funding will further strengthen our communities and provide opportunities for young and old adults to work on issues that really matter to them.” said Fatema Rehman Mirza, Director,Worry Free Community

City of West Chicago: $2 million to be used for remediation of the Kerr-McGee Superfund, one of four Superfund National Priorities List sites in the West Chicago area that had been contaminated with radioactive thorium wastes. 

“The City of West Chicago owes Representative Casten and his team an enormous debt of gratitude for their continued advocacy on our behalf, and for their dedication towards securing funding to transform a soon to be former Superfund site into a state-of-the-art park for all our community members to enjoy. This is a fitting end to this cleanup that has plagued West Chicago for decades, and we cannot thank them enough for their continued support of West Chicago residents. ” said West Chicago Mayor Ruben Pineda

Cooperative Development Fund of CDS / Prairie Food Coop: $847,000 in funding would be used to fill the funding gap for the Prairie Food Co-op. This project will revitalize the economy, support the growth of local microbusinesses, and create $1.5 million in revenues for local agriculture and local food businesses. This capital investment will construct and equip DuPage County's first community owned grocery, which will fulfill the objectives of the committee by: - creating 50-80 living wage jobs with opportunities for advancement and comprehensive - benefits, - creating steady income streams for over 300 local urban, suburban and rural Illinois farmers and producers - generating $13M in economic activity, and - stimulating the creation of 8-12 micro-businesses.

 “Prairie Food Co-op is thrilled that Congressman Casten has selected our project for funding. Our mission to support local farmers and food producers as a full service grocery store, owned by the community, gives food producers opportunities to innovate and diversify how their products reach the market. Illinois has some of the richest farmland in the world yet only 5% of the foods eaten in Illinois are grown in Illinois. The Co-op's mission to source goods locally improves food security, building capacity for a more resilient community."  said Kathy Nash, President, Prairie Food Co-op

Glen Ellyn School District 41: $250,000 to be used to start up on-site after school mental health support access programs for students and families. 

“The impact of the funding on the children in District 41 and their families has the potential to be life-saving. It will allow us to provide mental health assessments and care to our students, in the safety and familiarity of their school setting, while they are on the waitlist for continued care.  Currently, the waiting period for assessment and the initiation of services can be months.  Tragic events can be prevented if we can create a space for parents and family members to seek professional help when their children are showing signs of potential crisis level behaviors.” said Dr. Melissa Kaczkowski, Superintendent, Glen Ellyn D41, Glen Ellyn, Il 

Pace Suburban Bus: $1 million to buy five new battery-electric paratransit buses to lower costs and combat climate change 

 “On behalf of the thousands of daily Pace riders and residents in northern Kane County, we thank Congressman Casten for his support for funding for electric paratransit vehicles,” said Pace Executive Director Melinda J. Metzger. “As Pace makes our transition to a fully zero-emission fleet, this funding will be critical to expediting that transition and helping to reduce pollution in the Elgin area. As we do our part to mitigate climate change, we appreciate the support of that effort.”

DuPage County Health Department: $1 million for the construction of a Central Receiving Center (CRC). CRCs are locations where individuals within a city or county can receive immediate care for their needs, including mental health and/or substance and opioid use disorders–specifically intended for law enforcement, emergency personnel or families to bring an individual experiencing a mental health crisis. 

Karen Ayala, Executive Director of the DuPage County Health Department said “The DuPage Central Receiving Center will reduce hospital emergency room visits and unnecessary incarcerations while providing accessible evaluation and treatment linkage for substance use disorder and behavioral health. The funding and logistical problems faced treating substance use disorder and mental illness require a comprehensive multi-jurisdictional funding approach and the funds secured by Representative Casten is an important and necessary component.”

Forest Preserve District of DuPage County: $2 million for the construction of a wildlife rehabilitation clinic and visitor center, transforming wildlife care at the center and making it the District’s first net-zero building.

“Thank you, Representative Sean Casten, for including our community project in your appropriations request. Our Willowbrook Wildlife Center project will help us accomplish our wildlife rehabilitation mission in line with best practices, serving our local ecosystems and residents better, and we have planned the project with environmental sustainability in mind, so important as we all do our part to address climate change. Support for this project beyond our local tax base is appropriate given the regional and national impact of Willowbrook in the wildlife rehabilitation field.” said President Daniel Hebreard, Forest Preserve District of DuPage County   

DuPage County: $1.5 million to fund preliminary engineering for a 4-mile section of the East Branch DuPage River Trail, to improve safety by connecting trail users (pedestrians, bicyclists, runners, etc.) from various communities and existing Illinois Prairie Path and Great Western Trails to local and reginal attractions including downtowns, DuPage County Forest Preserves, parks, Morton Arboretum and ultimately to destinations in neighboring counties. 

DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin said “The development of the East Branch DuPage River Trail is an important community project.  The COVID pandemic highlighted our residents’ desire to pursue healthy lifestyles that include trails for walkers, cyclists, joggers and families spending time outdoors together.  This proposed new north-south trail segment has already drawn widespread public support both within and outside DuPage County.  It will enhance the quality of life for all users for decades to come.”

Earlier this year, after Congressman Casten hiked the East Branch DuPage River Trail to meet with local Glen Ellyn officials and discuss the community's needs, Casten immediately began working to secure the necessary funding for DuPage’s River Train improvement project. View photos from the visit here

Wayne Police Department: $54,000 to be used to purchase new patrol radios and updated computers for department squad cars. This will help the department equip new patrol officers and aid in communication and delivery of police services. 

City of Wheaton: $1,123,200 to be used for the rehabilitation of the City of Wheaton’s public library.

 "I want to thank Representative Casten for assisting the City of Wheaton in acquiring this grant to restore and expand the Wheaton Public Library's West Plaza. Today's libraries are an important connection point for residents, community groups, schools, businesses and families. This project will not only enhance the plaza's physical space, but it will also expand the types of programs and opportunities our library can provide for the community."  - Philip J Suess, Mayor of Wheaton

Village of Hawthorn Woods: $1.5 million used to fund a utilities extension to serve an underserved population currently on well and septic systems. 

“The Village of Hawthorn Woods is extremely grateful for the consideration of funding, as this financial assistance will have a direct result in creating an immediate economic opportunity to a portion of our town without any modern utility service. Creating water and sewer services will open the door to responsible development of land that will create additional jobs, commerce, and vitality to an underserved area in the region.” said Pamela Newton, Chief Operating Officer, Village of Hawthorn Woods 

Wheaton Sanitary District: $2,655,400 to be used for Secondary Clarifier Upgrades that will include the installation of new mixed liquor piping (to alleviate hydraulic bottlenecking & flat watering), a new splitter structure, replacement of all clarifier mechanisms and components, and modifications to the sludge conveyance system to allow for increased return flows. 

"The Wheaton Sanitary District appreciates Congressman Casten selecting our Secondary Clarifier Upgrades Project to receive Community Project Funding support.  This project will benefit the customers of Wheaton Sanitary District in two specific ways – first by continuing to keep sewer bills low, and secondly by improving water quality.  This project support by Congressman Casten furthers the Wheaton Sanitary District’s mission of 'Efficiently and Cost-effectively Protecting Public Health and Preserving the Environment.'”  Matt Larson, Executive Director, Wheaton Sanitary District.


See a full list with further details on each of the 14 projects Congressman Casten requested funding for here and below. 

These project requests were passed by the House Appropriations Committee for funding consideration in the Fiscal Year 2023 spending bill. Each member of Congress may submit up to fifteen Community Project Funding requests to benefit state or local government grantees or eligible nonprofits. From there, the Appropriations Committee will consider Member requests when writing the annual spending bill.  

To ensure public transparency and accountability, Members of Congress must certify that they and their immediate family have no financial interests in the projects they request. There is a ban on directing Community Project Funding to for-profit entities.