The Evanston City Council tonight is scheduled to vote on a plan to spend $520,000 in federal funds to rehab and refinance four one-bedroom apartments in a building at 131 Callan Ave.

131 Callan Ave. (2007 Cook County Assessor’s Office photo)

The Evanston City Council tonight is scheduled to vote on a plan to spend $520,000 in federal funds to rehab and refinance four one-bedroom apartments in a building at 131 Callan Ave.

131 Callan Ave. (2007 Cook County Assessor’s Office photo)

The property is owned by the Housing Opportunity Development Corporation, which owns several other subsidized housing developments in the city.

The rehab work is scheduled to be done by Community Builders, an Evanston-based group that has providing construction industry job training opportunities for unemployed youths.

Marry Ellen Poole, the city’s housing planner says the cost of the project, $130,000 for each of the 650-square-foot units unit, is less than the $144,355 per unit limit for one-bedroom apartments set by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Poole said HODC has owned the building for a little over 10 years and that it’s very impressive that the group has been able to maintain it for low-income tenants for so long without seeking government subsidies until now.

She said one of the units has been vacant and uninhabitable for about a year since a former tenant let pet dogs tear up the inside of the apartment.

That vacancy will make it possible for the building to be rehabbed without displacing any of the existing tenants, she added.

The city receives about $500,000 a year from HUD’s HOME program. Of the five Community Housing Development Organizations in Evanston, HODC is the only one that has a project ready for approval, Poole said.

The assistance to the project is expected to include a $290,500 grant to cover rehab costs and a $229,500 no-interest, 20-year, balloon-payment mortgage loan to refinance the building.

Tenants will pay $725 a month in rent for the rehabbed units.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Looks like someone found Obama’s stash

    A 650 square foot condo in south Evanston will cost $130,000 simply to rehab? Or does that figure include the mortgage refinance?

    Even so, $290,000 to rehab four small one bedroom condos in that area seems exorbitant. You could probably construct a new building there for that much.

    Didn’t five Evanston affordable housing projects go bust last year, requiring the city to pick up the tab?

    It kind of looks like HODC is getting more than a half million dollars for property it already owns. Looks like HODC found Obama’s stash.

    BTW-maybe HODC should have a no pet rule. Just sayin.

    Meanwhile, property values in Evanston are still on the decline while property and income taxes still climb. Evanston murders have shot up (no pun intended. Well OK, it was).  Can I write the words "shot" or "crosshairs" on this site?

    For those who pay property and income taxes, how’s that hopey changey stuff workin out? Who’s in your corner?

  2. The poor have a fundamental right to great housing

    $130k seems on the low end to me, you will need master craftsmen to help supervise the youngsters who are being trained, those youngsters will have to learn that they should never carry more than one piece of wood at a time lest they will never become union members because they will not know proper safety standards on the site. When you add in new drywall, paint, cupboards, granite countertops and marble vanities for the bathrooms, I can see this running way overbudget. Have you priced Viking ranges and SubZero fridges lately? If Scrooge McRichey deserves these, so do the lower income people living in these low income housing units. You sound like some neocon, the city can’t just go to Home Depot and buy this stuff.

  3. Spending Half A Mil to Help Four Families

     Half a million to help four families? Surely the city could help a lot more poor people for the same amount of money. 

  4. Troubling.

    We truly live in troubling times. This is actually a good program that is helping people, and best of all (well not really, the best part is the helping of other human beings, but for the people on this site) we’re not paying for it! It’s not coming out of your taxes! This just proves my point that people would rather complain and blame people than actually be a part of the solution. If you read it you would’ve noticed that this is the FIRST time in 10 years that they’ve used the money, money meant for this type of work, and they are using less than what is allotted. Let’s take all of the energy we use for snide comments and illogical thinking and put it to use for the betterment of the community. 
    1. Say what?

      It’s not coming out of your taxes!

      It’s not coming out of our taxes? Seriously, dude? ALL government money comes out of our taxes. Come on now.

      1. It’s not coming out of our taxes?

        Oh give me a break, you know what I meant.  There’s no special taxes that only Evanston residents are paying.  So yes, DUDE, I am serious. 

    2. Money from heaven ?

      "It’s not coming out of your taxes!"


      So the money is just falling like manna from heaven or they are picking it off the money tree ?

      Learn something about economics before making such dumb statements.  No wonder the city and state finances are so bad with people not understanding everything has a cost.

      1. My last word on the matter

        Here is a quote from the website:

        HOME is the largest Federal block grant to State and local governments designed exclusively to create affordable housing for low-income households. Each year it allocates approximately $2 billion among the States and hundreds of localities nationwide. The program was designed to reinforce several important values and principles of community development

        This money can’t go to fix our economy, it can’t go to City Council to do with as the please.  It doesn’t matter if you can by a home for 75,000 right now, it doesn’t matter what craigslist has on there site.  This money is set aside to help communities help people who who need it. 

        I understand that our federal income tax dollars pay for this, what I was simply stating was that there were no special taxes being put upon the citizens of Evanston to fund this renovation.  So for dumb statements what do you have to say?  Nothing is free, I get it.  We all pay for everything, I like having my trashed picked up, my roads paved, etc… 

    3. Betterment of the Community?

      I’m not really certain that the expenditure of these funds is helping the community.  It seems the only people benefitting for sure are Community Builders of Evanston, LLC (a for-profit Company), the original seller of the 131 Callan property, the financial instiutution that was paid off in the re-finance, and the financial institution holding the 20 year note.

  5. I don’t get it.

    On the HODC website it says "131 Callan Apartments – HODC purchased and rehabilitated this four-flat building in 2000 with funding from local investors and the Chicago Community Loan Fund…" Online records indicate that the property was purchased for $215,000. Now they need $229,500 to refinance and over $72,000 a unit to rehab? (and one-bedroom units at that) It would be nice to know what the rehab included. It seems wiser to sell this property and purchase four condo’s already in good condition from the surplus of units in the area.

  6. Out of control spending

    $520 K to rehab 4 1 bedroom units – are you nuts?

    A quick look at Craigslist: – 2 Bedroom condo at 2541 Bennet: $95,000 – 3 bedroom house at 1117 W Darrow: $74,000 – 4 bedroom house at 1315 Fowler: $150,000

    These are all move in ready at FULL ASKING PRICE. Total for all three (which would be 9 bedrooms all together) comes to $319,000.

    It took 5 minutes to look on Craigslist. This is not just government money – this is our money the City is throwing away.

    And Evanston has an unexpected $1.5mm  deficit – big bloody surprise.

    1. These are local

      These are local developer/Affordable Housing advocates who are well-aware of the neighborhood values, and spend a great deal of time interacting with residents of the Callan-Clyde Corridor Area!

      Just look at who the owners are…all local:

      Case closed,

      Joe Predd
      Evanston, IL

      1. All local…but not in my neighborhood

         This is so predictable.  They never even LOOK in communities north of Evanston–even when property values are low. 

        They support affordable housing, but not near them.

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