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.

Related story

Dozens seek work on city rehab projects

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Where do I sign up?

    This place sounds nicer than my home. Granite countertops, really? Where do I sign up for some money from the city to re-do my countertops? Heck, if they want, I'll even destroy my current kitchen first, since that seems to be a prerequisite. Whose idea was it to spend gov't money to subsidize low-to-mid income families' home purchases? Bringing in more folks who can't afford to live here will surely increase the sales tax and other revenue streams, right? Forget about all the tax hikes that are coming, I'm sure they'll still have plenty of disposable income over the next few years to put back into the local economy. They were told all about the coming tax hikes, right?

  2. Oh wow, what a great deal

    Gee, what a deal. Upwards of a third of our income is confiscated by the Federal government in the form of taxes, the money goes to a vast bureaucracy in the District of Columbia, and some of it trickles back to us—after we've vied with other communities for access to our own money—so that politicians can stand around for photo-ops and pretend that they're being constructive.

  3. What is the difference

    Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't this just another form of goverment sub loans? Isn't this (in part) what got us all into this mess? Freddi Mac and the like?

    My concerns around this program is that it isn't a one time transaction deal. The folks who qualify for these homes are required to signed contracts. These contracts include things such as the promise to insure the property, maintain the property and not sublease it. While all these things are good, they require monitoring. So long after the deal is closed our City Goverment is now required to follow up and ensure the contractual agreements are not violated. How long you ask? Try until the loan is paid off (at least that is the answer I got from the Alderman).

    I am sorry to say that although I am happy to see people get the chance to own a home, I don't like what I am seeing here. In the long run, it will cost the people of Evanston more money to monitor and maintain the program. This doesn't even include the legal costs involved when one of these home buyers decides he/she doesn't want to live up the agreements.

    I am sure these these folks who got this home are hard working good people and I am truly happy for them. But in the long run, I question how my tax dollars were and will be spent.

    Also, this program has been running for 2 years now. I am surprised that it took 2 years to get the first one closed. Again, I question that as well.

    Welcome to the neighborhood Meek's. You'll love Home Ownership in Evanston and all the crazy that goes along with it…


  4. Where’s the list

    Where is the list of homes that are currently targeted for rehab, under rehab, and are ready for resale? It is our tax dollars being used. We have a right to know.

    I could not find anything other than a political notice on Evanston's city web site that told use that all of this was due to the hard work of Dick Durbin and Jan Schkowski by our mayor.

    Also, is there an accounting of how much was spent to make this a $ 200,000 house.

    It would be nice to know we are not spending $ 300,000 to rehab a $ 200,000 home. We don't want a carbon copy of how Washington has been wasting our tax dollars.

  5. I think the main reason they

    I think the main reason they doing this is to make the neigborhoods look better, if you notice most of these houses are located on the Church/Emerson area near ETHS.

    Not too long ago we bought a house near this area, it was a short sale, i got so happy to see days after we moved in that the houses next door were being rehabilitated and look awesome.

    I think this can really improve these neigborhoods..Besides we all need the ETHS area safe for everybody this might be the solution….as long as people buying this houses are good people..

  6. Always a problem

    Always a problem when African Americans get a break. These are Evanstonions I'm happy for them.

    1. You should be ashamed

      Why take it there? I can't say anything else but that you should be ashamed of yourself. That comment was wrong and has no place in this conversation. It was offensive not only to those who have legit concerns about the program but to the Meeks as well. Shame on you for whomever you are.

    2. Stop

      Stop throwing out the race card against the first person who may disagree with someting you agree with.

      So typical, so overused, so shallow, so fake.

      So left.

      Grow up.

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