Evanston aldermen Monday directed the Housing Commission to develop a plan for how to spend the city’s affordable housing trust fund within 90 days.

They also agreed to explore establishing a “blue ribbon committee” to advise the council on how to implement the Housing Commission’s recommendations.

The decision at the City Council’s Rules Committee meeting was a compromise between aldermen who support the Housing Commission’s approach to addressing the affordable housing issue, including Alderman Edmund Moran, 6th Ward, and others, including Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, who have suggested the need for more input from financial industry and real estate professionals in crafting a solution.

The aldermen, and other observers, have concluded that the lack of a detailed plan for spending affordable housing funds was one of the reasons voters last month rejected an increase in the real estate transfer tax to fund affordable housing programs.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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