Evanston’s Housing and Community Development Committee voted unanimously Tuesday night to recommend City Council approval of rehab funding for a 26-unit affordable apartment building.

Under the proposal, the vintage building at 707-713 Seward St. owned by Reba Place Development Corporation would receive up to $150,000 from the city’s federally-funded Community Development Block Grant housing rehab assistance program.

Martha Burns of the Reba Place staff said the grant would fund replacement of the building’s roof, and that the organization is seeking other funding sources for a range of other upgrades to the building.

The city’s community development director, Sarah Flax, said the CDBG assistance is not as restrictive regarding affordability requirements as most other forms of government aid.

Burns assured the committee that rents will remain affordable. She said most of the building’s current tenants earn 50% to 60% of area median income.

Reba board member Michelle Macklin said the agency is planning a slight rent increase for new tenants starting in September.

Also at Tuesday night’s meeting, organizers of the “One Stop Shop” program to provide energy efficiency upgrades to affordable housing units gave the committee an update on their work.

Bob Dean, chief executive officer of the Center for Neighborhood Technology, one of three organizations involved in the project, said they hope to start taking on home improvement projects this summer.

The project, funded with $1 million from the city’s American Rescue Plan Act grant, has experienced some operational challenges, Robbie Marcus of the Evanston Development Cooperative said, mainly in lining up contractors to participate in the program, given the competition for their services.

He said the organizers are conducting focus groups with residents and landlords and that the residents have mentioned electrical and plumbing work as their major concerns.

Dean said the program is seeking about $2.5 million in matching funds to expand the number of residents they’re able to serve.

Desiree Shannon

Desiree Shannon relocated to Evanston in 2022 from Columbus, Ohio. She has a journalism degree from Otterbein College of Ohio. During her undergraduate studies, she completed an internship with the Washington...

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