City seeks waiver of housing grant targets
Evanston officials say they now will fall short of the goal of rehabbing 100 foreclosed housing units under an $18 million federal grant.
Under an amendment to the Neighborhood Stabilization Program action plan scheduled for approval by the City Council Monday, properties that could accommodate up to 10 of those 100 units will be "land-banked" instead -- left vacant for possible future development.
The city will accept public comment on the amendments through noon Monday.
City officials say many properties in the NSP2 program turned out to have more severe structural problems than they had anticipated -- including deficient or missing foundations -- as well as more severe problems with plumbing and electrical systems.
Three properties identified for the land-bank approach are located at 1509 Emerson St., 2122 Darrow Ave. and 1941 Jackson Ave.
City officials say that after they acquired the property, workers opened up the walls and discovered that it was originally a single-story home built in the late 1800s. When two floors were added for apartments over time, the additions compromised the structural integrity of the building.
The action plan amendments say the city hopes to eventually add new housing on the Emerson and Jackson sites as part of the second phase of the nearby Emerson Square rental housing development.
The revisions to the action plan also indicate that the city concluded that limiting the 50 scattered-site rental units to persons making half of less of the area median income was unfeasible, so income limits for the rental program have been loosened.
City officials say they've leveraged the $18 million federal grant with a total of nearly $19 million in other funds -- mostly state low income housing tax credits, but also more than $1 million in city funds and an anticipated total of more than $3 million in program revenue from sales of single family homes and condominium units.