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City marks first rehab program home sale

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City officials are celebrating the first sale of a home under the $18 million federal Neighborhood Stabilization Grant program designed to rehab foreclosed properties in Evanston.

City officials are celebrating the first sale of a home under the $18 million federal Neighborhood Stabilization Grant program designed to rehab foreclosed properties in Evanston.

Officials say the home, at 1704 Grey Ave., was sold earlier this month for the $200,000 listing price to Christopher and Jessie Meeks.

The Meeks and their two children, Christopher and Jace, had been renters in Evanston.

The rehabbed home features a new kitchen with granite counters, energy efficient stainless steel appliances, new insulation, siding, and roof, plus new landscaping and other improvements.

Home owner Christopher Meeks says the program cut years off the time it would have taken his working-class family to save enough money for a downpayment.

He said it's good for the community as well, "because it is helping to stabilize the hardest-hit neighborhoods in Evanston."

Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl, in a statement, said providing new homes for Evanston residents "is exactly the outcome we had hoped for" with the NSP2 program.

She praised support received from U.S. Rep Jan Schakowsky and Sen. Richard Durbin for the city's application for the federal funding.

Alderman Delores Holmes, 5th Ward, said the program is what's needed "to turn the Grey Street neighborhood around."

Christopher and Jessie Meeks with sons Christopher and Jace in their new home, flanked by, from left, Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl, Eleanore Lord of the Grey Street Neighbors group and Alderman Delores Holmes, 5th Ward. (City of Evanston photos.).

"From foreclosures and gun violence to the rebirth of a neighborhood, it's families like the Meeks moving onto the street and neighborhood groups like the Grey Street Neighbors that are making Grey Street 'the place to live' in Evanston," Holmes added.

The split-level home across from Evanston Township High School was partially gutted and filled with mold when it was acquired under the LiveEvanston program in July 2010.

1704 Grey in October 2010, before the rehab work began. (Evanston Now file photo.)

The program is designed to rehabilitate 100 units of foreclosed or abandoned housing for sale or rent by households whose incomes don't exceed 120 percent of the area median income.

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