Evanston aldermen Monday are scheduled to discuss a proposal to provide grants of up to $50,000 to help landlords make repairs and improvements to buildings that are rented to low-income households.

As described in a staff memo, the grants would cover up to half the cost of repair projects. To qualify, the landlord’s property would have to be rented to households with incomes of no more than 60 percent of area median income.

The grant would be structured as a five-year forgivable loan, and the tenant’s income would have to remain below 80 percent of area median income during that period for the landlord to qualify for full forgiveness of the loan.

Eligible rehab activivities would include replacement of major building components including the roof or heating system, or replacement of windows and doors, and modernization of kitchens and bathrooms.

Routine maintenance and beautification projects would not qualify and neither would creation of new or additional habitable space.

Money for the grants would come from the city’s affordable housing fund, which is largely funded by fee-in-lieu payments from builders of planned developments in the city.

The concept of a rehab grant program for landlords was initially suggested by Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, at a council meeting earlier this month.

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Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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    1. Money for seniors trying to age in place

      Will money from the affordable housing fund be available for seniors trying to age in place, especially with reverse mortgages that disallow loans (unlike rental properties)?

      1. I Love Evanston

        So let me get this straight. We are going to give landlords who are making money from low income housing such as section 8 rentals, a grant, which usually means you don’t have to pay it back. Seems like they should be taking care of their building anyways.  The city must not be hurting from that budget shortfall of 6 million that we recently heard of. 

        Why not give homeowners who are having trouble paying high taxes, doing home improvements and trying to feed their families free money. Just shameful!  Better keep working on economic development or there will be another shortfall in the budget. It’s a fairly easy prediction the way the city spends money. 

  1. Who’s looking out for the middle class
    Evanston each year gets millions from the federal government through HUD and Community Development Block Grants that benefits low-no income renters peeps.About 7 years ago Evanston got a $11 million Neighborhood Stabilization Grant that bought about 100 properties in two neighborhoods with tons of foreclosures and rehabbed them, renting about 50 of them and building the new Emerson Square affordable housing complex. As I said before there are plenty of Evanston renters who pay about 10 percent of their monthly rent with the government picking up the rest of the tab

    What about renters with income above 60 percent?

    What about the middle class? Anyone care about them? Who’s looking out for us?

    How many more generations will grow up in the dependent class? Anyone wonder why big corporations are fleeing California and New York and going to states such as Texas and not Illinois? Anyone really think Amazon will build its headquarters in Chicago. We need more good paying jobs not more government assistance. But that’s how the unchallenged Democratic party rolls in Evanston, Chicago, Cook County and Illinois.

    Maybe it’s time voters send a message to the one party rule.

  2. Nice giveaway for student housing landlords
    If I were renting to NU students, I would jump at this program in a heartbeat.

    A typical NU student would have taxable income lower than the median since they are getting family support or loans that may not show up as income.

  3. Trump would be proud

    This would essentially be akin to the New York and Newark city governments giving forgivable loans to the Kushner family real estate empire. Trump would be proud.

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