Evanston aldermen Monday rejected a request for $550,000 to support a planned 16-unit affordable housing rental development at 2215 Dempster St. on the west side.

The vote against the funding request was 3-5 with only Aldermen Melissa Wynne, Don Wilson and Eleanor Revelle voting in favor of the plan.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, after casting her no vote, moved to have the issue referred back to the Planning and Development Committee for further consideration after the Council has its scheduled Oct. 30 discussion about developing guidelines for affordable housing development in the city.

The city contribution for the supportive housing development proposed by Housing Opportunities for Women would have represented only about 10 percent of the project cost — or about $34,000 per unit.

That compares to an estimated cost of around $250,000 per unit for other affordable developments the city has entertained recently.

The area around the Dempster site is largely populated by moderate income homeowners, many of them African-American. Neighbors who spoke at public meetings about the project objected to it, claiming it was too dense for the site, although it met the city’s zoning requirements and still could be built as of right, if an alternative funding source were found.

Neighbors also argued that affordable housing should be built instead in more affluent, and predominantly white, areas of town. And they voiced concerns that, given the requirements of other agencies providing funding for the project, most of the building’s occupants would not be Evanston residents.

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Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Where to build

    The article said “Neighbors also argued that affordable housing should be built instead in more affluent, and predominantly white, areas of town. And they voiced concerns that, given the requirements of other agencies providing funding for the project, most of the building’s occupants would not be Evanston residents.”


    How about putting affordable housing units in the block of each alderman, mayor, city manager and heads of city departments. Maybe a building the size of the proposed 2215 Dempster building. 

  2. “Neighbors also argued that

    “Neighbors also argued that affordable housing should be built instead in more affluent, and predominantly white, areas of town.”
    Why?  If people (any race) want to live in the “affluent” neighborhoods work hard and save hard like most of the people that live in said “affluent” parts of town.  While only in a condo, yes I live in the downtown area which I assume is one of the “affluent” areas mentioned.  Nobody gave me anything in life.  My mother was a single mother of 3 who worked 2 sometimes 3 jobs, mostly as a bartender.  I went to college for 2 years which I paid for but unfortunately did not graduate.  But through hard work and more hard work I am able to afford to live in the “affluent” said area.  If it is within city limits I don’t thing anyone should dictate where it should or shouldn’t be as such things are not a right nor owed to anyone.  I don’t care who lives next to me as long as they earned it!  Now we will see how long it will take before someone calls me a racist.

    1. Distribute affordable housing equally

      Your comment doesn’t even make sense in reference to this project. I don’t think you understand what the project is. Also it’s sad you assume all of us who live on the west side of town don’t work hard and save. Like you, I’ve never been given anything and I worked hard to buy my house. I can afford to buy a condo downtown if I wanted to but I choose to live here. The point is this affordable housing project was asking for city funds ($500,000 in this case) citizens should have a say. Downtown residents had a say about the Albion project which has accommodated them by not making that building as high as the developer originally wanted and that project isn’t even asking for any money from the city. So why shouldn’t neighbors of the affordable housing project have a say? Plus it seems everyone in this town across all wards says affordable housing is important to them thus affordable housing should be distributed equally throughout all the wards

      1. No I don’t believe your

        No I don’t believe your comment makes sense.  I was referring specifically to the comment in quotes, not anything to do with the entirety of the project.  Nor did I ever say people on the west side or any side don’t work hard.  The neighbors that said the quote are acknowledging different parts of town have differnt home values, etc. via saying “affluent”.  I contend that anyone benefiting from affordable housing should be happy (as Im sure most are) whereever it may be.  And I completely disagree with your distribute affordable housing equally.  Do you think there is affordable housing on the lake in Winnetka, Lake Forest, etc.  Im not even saying Im against affordable housing if it ends up in the “affluent” areas IF the logistics make sense but it shouldn’t be forced just because some people feel people have a “right” to higher priced areas.  

        1. Actually yes there is
          Actually yes there is affordable housing in the more affuent suburbs. The non profit group community partners for affordable housing has affordable housing in Highland Park and Lake Forest. The state appears to also agree affordable housing should not be confined to just low and moderate priced areas and are “forcing” wealthier suburbs to provide more housing.
          “The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) identified Highland Park, Deerfield, Glencoe, Kenilworth, Bannockburn, Lake Bluff, Lake Forest, Northbrook, Wilmette and Winnetka as ten of the sixty eight “non-exempt” communities under the Illinois Affordable Housing Planning and Appeals Act, meaning that they are among the sixty eight communities in Illinois which have less than 10% of its housing stock as affordable. The state law requires each of these communities to adopt an affordable housing plan designed to increase the supply of affordable housing in their communities”

    2. Disagree, Neil

      I wonder how many of your  “neighbors” in affluent areas inherited their wealth. They live an affluent life style because they picked the right parents. Can those with legacy wealth live next to you, even if they haven’t earned it? I am all for thrift and hard work, and have advanced my prospects with both, but spare me the stereotype that the rich are hard working and the poor are lazy. Not true by any stretch.

      1. Missing the point! I also
        Missing the point! I also never sad poor are lazy. I also never said there is no affordable housing in Winnetka etc. My point was there is no affordable housing on the lake in those areas (aka the more affluent areas of those towns). People are saying affordable housing should be everywhere. So it that the next step that we offer lakefront mansions to a few so it is “equal”. It was just a analogy to point out the absurdity of some people (IMO). Also said MOST people in affluent areas worked hard specifically for the reason you mentioned of inherited wealth (which also is not an issue anyways). My entire point was just that the quote seemed to indicated people had a right to the more affluent areas of ANY town and I just say I disagree with that. All willing to help people but that doesn’t mean people being helped have anything owed to them to be in the best part of ANY town. That is what I am saying whether you agree with it or not. If there is a desire and benefit to live in the best area on ANY town then work hard.

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