Evanston has just 3% of suburban Cook County’s population, but it has nearly 16% of the homeless shelter beds in the county’s suburbs.

The federal government’s 2022 estimates of homelessness in the United States, released last month, show suburban Cook County is doing relatively well — compared to other areas — in housing its homeless population.

Data for sheltered and unsheltered homeless persons specific to Evanston is not available from the HUD report.

On the date the homeless count was conducted last year, just 1,096 of suburban Cook County’s 2.47 million residents were counted as homeless, and only 9% of them were unsheltered.

The federal count showed 738 suburban Cook residents in emergency shelters, 239 in transitional housing and 20 in safe haven housing, mainly for domestic violence victims.

The homeless count is being repeated this week in suburban Cook County, with updated results expected to be released by the end of the year.

Evanston currently has 20 winter-season emergency shelter beds provided by Interfaith Action, 70 transitional housing beds at the Margarita Inn operated by Connections for the Homeless and, after an expansion last year, 66 safe haven shelter beds for domestic violence victims operated by the YWCA Evanston/North Shore.

That gives Evanston substantially more homeless shelter beds per capita than the rest of Suburban Cook County or the City of Chicago.

In addition, Connection last month received a $2 million federal grant to rehab and expand the currently closed congregate shelter at Hilda’s Place, 1458 Chicago Ave.

Nia Tavoularis, chief development officer for Connections, says that will let Hilda’s provide overnight shelter year-round for 30 to 50 people.

Tavoularis says the new version of Hilda’s will replace the winter-season shelters now provided by Interfaith Action that rotate among a half dozen different houses of worship.

She says Evanston would need about 200 shelter beds to fully meet the need for sheltering the homeless.

Kristen White, chief innovation officer for the YWCA, says 66 is the maximum capacity for the YW’s shelter — calculated as 23 adults and 43 children, but that occupancy is generally lower than that. The YW serves domestic violence victims in Evanston and other North Shore suburbs.

Connections currently is seeking city approval to continue its operation of the Margarita Inn facility at 1566 Oak Ave.

Some opponents of the Margarita plan suggest that it has turned Evanston into a magnet drawing homeless people to Evanston.

Joe Rocheleau, who lives about three blocks from the Margarita, says “the magnet affect is attracting vagrants and persons claiming to be homeless from all over the region to Evanston.”

“When there is no room at the Margarita Inn,” he adds, “they remain on our streets, often committing crimes and causing disorder.”

Connections also has contracted with several other communities, including Des Plaines and Skokie, to provide homeless services and claims on its website to serve 52 communities, including ones as far from Evanston as Grayslake and Barrington.

But for clients needing transitional housing, Connections’ only facility to provide that is the Margarita Inn in Evanston.

Update 2:15 p.m. 1/25/23: The Evanston YWCA’s Kristen White now tells Evanston Now that the YW does not participate in the HUD homelessness study conducted annually in January, but instead participates in a study conducted each September by the National Network to End Domestic Violence.

The latest reports from that study, based on September 2021 counts, suggest that the HUD numbers likely undercount the total number of shelter beds for domestic violence victims.

The NNEDV numbers indicate that nationwide for every 10,000 people there were 1.15 individuals in domestic violence shelters. For Illinois the equivalent number was 1.32 persons in domestic violence shelters per 10,000 state residents. The NNEDV reports do not break down data to the county or municipal level.

Assuming Evanston had the Illinois average number of domestic violence shelter residents for its population shown in the NNEDV report, it would have 10.31 domestic violence shelter beds.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. I have mixed feelings about being the ‘capitol of homeless support’… on one hand it makes me proud, on the other – I ask why, who pay for that, and how this affects our community.
    I also ask – does that come on the expense of taking care of other, social issues needed to be attended by our community, like meals for kids that cannot afford it

    1. I share your concerns. I chose to purchase a home in Evanston a few years ago because I wanted a safe place to live, and a vibrant community with many amenities and entertainment options. I knew I’d pay higher taxes and more for my home for the benefits of living here. I love that we’re an altruistic community, but it appears that we are paying to shoulder the homelessness issue for the entire county at the expense of our quality of life. Will the disproportionate homeless population support local businesses and the tax base? Chicago and Cook County need to step up. This disparity can’t possibly be sustainable.

      1. Before making decisions about placing high – need social service facilities near downtown, such as the Margarita Inn or the two million dollar future expansion of Hilda’s Place, do our city officials even address the simple question, “Will this bring added value to our community?” *Then* there is constant caterwauling by them wondering why downtown is declining, and the resultant lame attempts at downtown “renewal”. It appears that common sense is ***entirely*** lacking….

        A perfect case in point of the result of this inept thinking is our woebegone Fountain Square – a “square” which *lacks* a *fountain*…

        As David said so well above: “I feel like our elected representatives are actively working against us”…

        I feel like we are living in a live real – world version of “The Onion”… you can’t make this stuff up…

    2. This is my exact concern. Last year at a meeting in the Unitarian Church, someone official (a social worker, perhaps) claimed there were around 300 at-risk District 65 students! What are we doing for THEM?

      The Margarita issue / Interfaith / Connections have been taking up all the air in homeless discussions, possibly crowding out the needs of Evanston’s homeless or housing-unstable children. If true, this is shameful, and we need to step up for our community’s minors FIRST, the young people who have no rights and no means to live on their own.

      Connections’ mission is running a ‘low barrier’ shelter, at least at the Margarita. This is a worthy cause, but it means that their priority will never be focused on the Evanston community. They focus on ‘low barrier’ applicants in the general suburban area, who are usually adult males with substance or mental issues (statistically.) Is it taking food from D65 kids’ mouths, so to speak?

  2. Wait a second- Evanston is paying for and housing people from Grayslake? I have never even been to Grayslake. I don’t know where it is on a map. Barrington? Des Plaines? This was sold a shelter for Evanstonians! They have long term contracts to transport the homeless from other towns and those people use OUR Police and Fire? Why are we doing this? There are shootings and crimes all over town. We have a depleted police force and are just recovering. A few weeks ago a 15 year old girl was found overdosed in a hotel. Yesterday there was a girl almost kidnapped in the 2nd Ward. Our police should not be prioritizing and servicing the down and out of other towns at the expense of our own citizens!

  3. The article states that “Connections also has contracted with several other communities, including Des Plaines and Skokie, to provide homeless services and claims on its website to serve 52 communities, including ones as far from Evanston as Grayslake and Barrington.” Does that mean these other communities are paying money to Connections to take their homeless into Evanston? Connections has always stated that their operations at Margarita Inn are majority Evanston based people. Wonder if the Margarita Inn operation is considered to be part of the “servicing” to all these other communities by transporting their homeless into Evanston.

    1. Here is Connections for the Homeless FY 2021 Audited Financial Statement. Skokie provided $168K to Connections, City of Des Plaines $3K, and Northfield Township $2K. The city of Evanston provided a million dollars:


      The largest contributor was the Cook County Department of Planning and Development at five million dollars. Because of the latter funding, Connections is obligated to accept non – Evanston residents at the Margarita Inn:



      “The Cook County Department of Planning and Development is committed to cultivating vital communities by fostering economic opportunities and business development; preserving and expanding the supply of safe, decent, and affordable housing; facilitating infrastructure improvements; promoting fair housing; and supporting social services and programs that address the needs of some the County’s most vulnerable residents.

      Mandates and Key Activities:

      • Supports the expansion of economic opportunities
      • Supports sustainable community investment
      • Implements affordable housing strategies
      • Supports social service and homelessness programs…”

  4. It really isn’t an issue over whether we should pat ourselves on the back for helping the homeless or feel bad for the cost. If I fall and break my hip (which happened)!I don’t go to an immediate care center as they are not equipped to treat me. I go to a hospital. Now a good portion of the homeless have chronic mental health issues They need medication management among other services. Now if you believe that the Margarita Inn can find a psychiatrist who will provide service for their residents you must be floating on a hot air balloon It will never happen. So the residents are left to either wander around the city, panhandle, or stay in their rooms.

  5. I am not proud. This is folly. We are “transporting” the addicts and severely mentally of Barrington and Des Plaines to the middle of our downtown core and working with an organization that refuses cooperation with police and will not let their books leave the premises? As an attorney in the 1st Ward, I am ashamed at how this City has shown consistent lack of vision and the foresight necessary to protect our downtown.

  6. I know that when Connections received $2M to expand Hilda’s Place by “dozens of shelter beds”, the City had no knowledge that CFTH had such a request pending. The neighbors of the Margarita asked Council Member Nieuwsma this question. He said he was unaware of the request, but that Betty did tell him immediately * after* they received the money. What else do we not know? What else will we find out after the fact? I wonder whether, if Connections presented their request truthfully – as a request for REGIONAL SHELTER, would it would have the support it does. I doubt it.

  7. Now we know why the Library is essentially a homeless shelter and the bathrooms there a secure place for people to shoot up.

  8. This article is a major eye-opener. But it does help explain the high number of criminals in the EPD crime reports under arrests that claim to be homeless, or are from other cities. And unfortunately, the crimes they commit are often assaults, battery, or theft. This also explains why we see so many people sleeping on the streets, panhandling, and walking around with suitcases and large, full garbage bags.

    We all need to voice our concerns to our alderpersons. There is absolutely no reason that Evanston should be shouldering this burden for the entirety of Cook County. If we sign up for Connections running a 70 bed shelter at Margarita Inn, the city better be prepared to deal with the aftermath and knock-on effect.

    Say goodbye to public safety, quality of life, and the comfortable lifestyle we have all enjoyed, paid for, and came here for.

  9. Connections told the City that they have a special hotline for problems. Last week when I was being followed by a shirtless drunk man at 10 am, there was no hotline for me to call. If there was a hotline, I would have called it. They promised they would do background checks. They make promises to have no illegal drugs in the facility. They told us it’s a shelter for Evanstonians. It’s all empty promises. They make promises they have no intention of keeping. I have been debating quitting a job that I love, working for amazing people because of the unacceptable behavior I have to deal with in this neighborhood now. There is no hotline. There are no background checks. They let anyone in that building, and it will become even worse when they are managing an expanded Hilda’s place. Evanston does not NEED more shelter beds. Grayslake needs shelter beds. Des Plaines needs shelter beds. Skokie needs shelter beds. We need to take care of our own town, our own businesses- not take on the problematic populations of Grayslake and Des Plaines, so that Connections can get more money from the government. While Skokie is revamping Old Orchard, Evanston is Connections’ meal ticket. Remember, even though this is a non profit, it is still a BUSINESS with a revenue of over $13 Million! We need to start auditing this group, make them open their books, study their procedures- by a THIRD PARTY- not by just what Betty Bogg and Nia say. Unless we are 100% sure this is not going to negatively impact our town, the Margarita should be shut down.

    1. Always follow the money – see how much their higher ups are getting paid. See how where the money is going. Follow. The. Money.

  10. I have lived on the other side of the alley from the Margarita for about 30 years. There has never been this much drugs in plain sight. There are also fights and many people going back and forth between soup kitchens and other services. I am worried about the value of our home and who would want to buy it.

  11. Wards 1 and 4 have even higher rates of burden than the city average. We have been asking for an impact study on disproportionate burden in our wards from Niewsma and Biss since they came to office.

    They continue to ignore us, instead focusing on woke performative government, plunging our central city into ugly vagrancy.

    A few nights ago at Sherman Starbucks, one of the scary vagrants was rubbing himself, grunting, while looking at a university student two seats away.

    This gross behavioral vagrancy abound in central Evanston.

  12. I would like to echo the statement above: Evanston does not need more shelter beds. Grayslake needs shelter beds. Des Plaines needs shelter beds. Skokie needs shelter beds. We need to take care of our own town, our own businesses- not take on the problematic populations of Grayslake and Des Plaines, so that Connections can get more money from the government.
    I imagine that if Connections filled the Margarita, the expanded Hilda’s place, and had their additional 200 beds, it would still not be enough for them. They are, ostensibly, importing the homeless from other communities to create a constant stream of people who need placement.

    1. You are correct, ” it would still not be enough” for an outfit like Connections for the Homeless, which is a prime example of how “The Homeless – Industrial Complex” operates… the more dysfunction and failure they “curate”, the fiercer their funding money spigot gushes…

      Before the Margarita Inn opened, there was really no need for such a facility; it was not even on the radar. Then Connections, in collusion with the city, manufactured a “need” – and now the Margarita is considered “indispensable”, as permanent now on our landscape as a Mount Rushmore…

      “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before…”

      – Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel

  13. Thank you for the research in this article . I would have hoped that this would have been requested by the Alderman who is supposed to be safeguarding the downtown and business district, instead of the paper. I believe this indicates the absolute necessity of a study at minimum to determine the impact of the Margarita, as well as the work of Interfaith and how it is spread throughout the City . Most of the “Safe Haven” sites are densely located near or in the downtown.

  14. As long time members of Lake Street Church and of Evanston, we are proud of the many years Hilda’s Place has served as a resource for those unhoused. There is a difference between the Margarita Inn’s bridge housing with the goals for finding permanent housing for its residents, and Hilda’s Place which will enlarge the space for the emergency shelter that Interfaith Action has taken on through Evanston churches. Evanston needs both types of housing. Our hope is that Evanston serves as a model that other communities will copy. We commend the organizations mentioned above, Connections for the Homeless, Interfaith Action of Evanston and the YWCA for their work to provide for those in need. This is what Evanston is about.

    1. There is no reason for other communities to copy Evanstons model. We are doing all the thankless work for them at the cost of $1 million in taxpayer dollars and the general quality of life in downtown Evanston.

    2. W and M wrote:

      “Our hope is that Evanston serves as a model that other communities will copy…”

      Your compassion is admirable, but “compassion without limits” simply exacerbates the homeless problem, and enables the homeless to fester in misery… it can only lead to disaster…

      If the influx of homeless continues, our streets may end up resembling the hellish and now – medieval diseased and filthy byways of downtown San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland…

      Is that what you want…???

    3. We should be copying more successful communities, such as Rockford (pointed out by Betty Bogg herself), which has apparently solved functional homelessness. Rockford was her example, so I looked it up. According to the few articles I’ve read, what they’ve done is much more organized and thoughtful than shoving a disparate population together in an understaffed building with no rules about drug and alcohol use.

    4. W and M are likely stakeholders tied to Connections who we hear from endlessly with the same gaslighting to distract from reality on our community. They are misguided in how to truly help people. Evanston’s oversized and highly lucrative social services industries are robbing us of civil society, expecting residents to be unpaid community support for endless influxes of people who do nothing but destroy themselves and or community.

      If we are expected to manage more and more imported vagrants, we should receive household payments and generous subsidies to beef up security in our homes.

  15. If it is true that Connections transports the mentally ill and those disabled by drug addiction from other towns into Evanston, they are cementing their position as a regional homeless shelter in Evanston. With massive federal funds available only to Housing First operators, this is job security for their staff as well as a very promising position for growth and expansion. I do believe this is what they call the Housing Industrial Complex.

    1. Yes, indeed, the “Homeless – Industrial Complex” is right here in Evanston. This long article is essential reading. Although it discusses Seattle, you could substitute “Connections for the Homeless – Evanston” as the milieu:


      “…With more than $1 billion spent on homelessness in Seattle every year, one should keep in mind Vladimir Lenin’s famous question: ‘Who stands to gain?’ In the world of Seattle homelessness, the big “winners” are social-services providers like the Seattle Housing and Resource Effort (SHARE), the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI), and the Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC), which constitute what I call the city’s HOMELESS-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX. For the executive leadership of these organizations, homelessness is a lucrative business…

      The deeper problem is that social policies have created a system of perverse incentives. The social-services organizations get paid more when the problem gets worse. When their policy ideas fail to deliver results, they repackage them, write a proposal using the latest buzzwords, and return for more funding. Homelessness might rise or fall, but the leaders of The Homeless-Industrial complex always get paid…

      In the near term, cities like Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles must shift toward a stance of realism, which means acknowledging that compassion without limit is a road to disaster. Homelessness should be seen not as a problem to be solved but one to be contained. Cities must stop ceding their parks, schools, and sidewalks to homeless encampments. And Seattle must stop spending nearly $1 billion a year to “solve homelessness” without clear accountability and visible results…

      Ultimately, the homeless-industrial complex is a creation of public incentives, constantly on the hunt for bigger contracts. Its new promise, Housing First—an old promise, actually, since it dates back to 1988—is that the city can solve the homelessness and cost-of-living crisis at once if it will fund enough new units of subsidized housing…”

  16. So while Skokie is making massive plans to improve Old Orchard, we are housing and feeding and managing their homeless? We are intentionally transporting Skokie’s most problematic population into the core of our downtown while they expand Old Orchard? If the Mayor and Council know these facts and continue support for Connections for the Homeless, our community is in great danger.

  17. I’m sorry, W and M, Evanston does not need both types of housing. Skokie, Des Plaines, Grayslake do. All the people Connections transports into Evanston should have housing in their own towns. We have more than enough of all types of shelters – more than any other suburb, or region, including Chicago. Evanston is not about disenfranchising the people who work hard to pay taxes. Evanston is not about lying to people or paying politicians’ rents to get votes. Evanston deserves far far better than this. It is disgraceful.

  18. The 4th ward is saturated with shelters. I applaud the work the YMCA does. But I detest living near drugged out wanderers (most from the Margarita). I no longer feel safe in my own neighborhood.

  19. This is not what Evanston or any community can “be about”. No more church nonsense, this is real, hard, life. HOMELESSness is a real issue however Evanston can’t solve it for all. Research before you comment and you will learn that Connections is NOT serving their constituents in the manner many of their blind donors think they are doing.

  20. I agree with all the comments of those that feel CFTH is not truthful, has benefitted from vast funding increases during the pandemic and other government dollars thrown at housing. Saying no to a self-funded, best in class stadium while yes to backing a homeless shelter smack downtown where women, children and male drug addicts live together with no boundaries is Evanston 2023. Thanks to an uber woke Council who all need to move to Oak Street and deal with the mess they are going to burden others with. Just Shameful. And the many who do not want the Margarita Inn to stay a homeless refugee for Cook County will write comments here but not show up to City Council meetings because they will be labeled uncaring racists. And you wonder why D65 has continual year over year declines. No one wants to live here anymore.

  21. Add to the mix Albany Care at Main and Maple, Greenwood Care at 1406 Chicago, and a number of other facilities housing mentally ill, convicts, etc. from ALL OVER, and it pushes the ratios per capita for Evanston through the roof.

    Our Mayor and City Council are not equipped with the skills, smarts, or concerns to properly manage the negative impacts from being the “homeless capital of the north shore”.

    Commenters, please attend upcoming City Council meetings on this topic, speak to your council member, and help increase awareness of this emerging disaster for Evanston. This is a city-wide issue, not only one for those who live on Oak Avenue.

  22. IMO Connections has shown duplicity in promoting the Margarita Inn. As a former employee of Connections (as an SSDI Benefits Specialist), I was aghast at the conditions at this facility. Below are excerpts from a letter I wrote to city officials for the 11/30/22 Land Use Commission hearing; the full letter can be found (as a matter of public record) at the LUC site below, under the “Additional Public Comment – 1566 Oak Avenue” for the 11/30/2022 “Agenda – Special Meeting”:


    “I was dismayed by the open alcohol/drug use/dealing, alarming guest altercations, the general chaos and havoc. I was confounded by the disdain of Margarita Inn management for *any* neighborhood concerns; critics of the Margarita were deigned “pests… racists… troublemakers… making stuff up…”…

    Connections has “warehoused” homeless at the Margarita since March 2020 – hence Connections, to gain ever more funding, IMO is *profiting* off others’ misery. Guests are not *required* to have any “action plan” to better their lives; such a plan is a prerequisite for the homeless to gain stability. While some guests toil to improve their lot, many have holed up there for years; the Margarita is a dandy “party pad” for their drugging, drinking, and criminality…

    Class X felons are housed along with mothers and children; in July 2021, per the EPD, there was a child sex abuse/human trafficking investigation at Margarita. Drug addicts/dealers and alcoholics are mixed in with those trying to conquer their addictions. Many guests suffer crippling mental health issues – their needs are often ignored, as treatment is deemed “optional”. Police calls for service are extensive: 187 calls between March 2020 and March 2022; these include death investigations, drug overdoses, harassment, sex offenses, guest with a gun, assault and battery…”

  23. Wouldn’t any type of regional homeless shelter or facility serving Cook County be better absorbed and served in the city of Chicago, where there is more diversity in services, public transportation, housing, and neighborhoods? Wouldn’t this be better for the homeless?

    I’ve heard supporters of CFTH say that those who are staying at Margarita Inn or Hilda‘s Place face a hostile environment in Evanston. Perhaps a location in Chicago would be less hostile?

    The comments from the former CFTH employee are powerful, and should concern us all.

  24. There’s a huge difference between Hilda’s Place, the YWCA women & children domestic shelter & the Margarita Inn, with the last one being the big problem. Connections leadership hasn’t been honest or transparent about MI and continues to minimize the issues & gaslight concerned residents and politicians. Sad but true fact- sometimes the only way to be heard is with money. So maybe the next step is stop donating to Connections, and spread the word. No dollars toward annual appeal or fundraiser. Perhaps board members will pause & ponder the issues at hand, and vote to remove their ring leader- Betty B., who is the root cause of many of the problems. A girl can dream!

  25. I agree with most of these comments. I don’t mind helping Evanston residents who have ties to the community but to reach beyond and keeping bringing it in, that’s a hard No! I suggest the alderpersons and Mayor start reaching out to the voters on these issues we all clearly didn’t vote for this. It’s too much get rid of Connections a city this size has already done more than their share.

  26. Wake up Nieuwsma you are responsible for this debacle and the complete and utter demise of the 4th Ward, the true architect of the Homeless Hilton that replaced a once graceful old hotel. Quit listening to the carpet baggers like Betty and hear the voices of your tax paying constituents. Businesses are leaving, apartments and condos sit vacant, all we are left with are homeless shelters, meth clinics and urgent care facilities. Wilmette thrives while downtown Evanston dies.

  27. Since he took office, Niewsma has been repeating Connections’ gaslighting virtue baloney to distract from the disgusting explosion in vagrancy. It’s uncanny: he repeatedly uses Betty Bogg’s marketing talking points, often exactly to the word. Has he been trained by Connections’ Public Affairs?

    When did Niewsma and Biss get our permission to turn Ward 4 into a regional playpen for behavioral vagrancy? It’s time for Wards 6 and 7 to adopt the vagrancy to give wards 1and 4 a breather.

    Vagrant panhandlers have been pretty honest in telling us that Connections told them to come to Evanston from elsewhere in Cook County. This seems like a great ploy by Connections: tell bad actors from all over Cook County to come to Evanston to support Connections/Niewsma narrative that “we need more beds, just look at all the people hanging out in the streets.”

    There is a bottomless supply of people who have no interest in supporting themselves or the community they are ruining. The welcome mat is driving Evanston’s rapid demise.

  28. I am also a scientist with late hours and a resident in the building next to the Margarita Inn Homeless And Drug Rehabilitation Centre. I believe that our group should speak collectively with Northwestern University about this situation. People should not be traveling from across the world to study in a prestigious university and be in harms way. We will certainly explain to our colleagues in India who look for housing to avoid this area at all costs if they choose to study in the Northwestern University. It is most certain that this area is not suitable for females who are living alone. Indeed, the daily routine of walking to work and getting the provisions for food preparation are very unpleasant and the population of persons who exhibit unacceptable behaviors in public really is too much to tolerate. I also believe it is getting worse. I believe that the University should alert candidates who are coming from abroad to avoid this area.

  29. Evanston should take its time to create the shelter that fits Evanston’s needs in the location that is best for our city. Accommodating Connections means accommodating the needs of OTHER communities. This is not what is best for Evanston. Take the time to do this right. There is far too much at risk.

  30. Connections gave money to Alderman Reid . However, this money is allocated to KEEP people in their homes. The amount of unpaid rent that Reid racked up was so much higher than the (very large) check that he received from Connections, that he is still owes money and the courthouse still has a pending eviction date. This money should never have been given to Reid- it should have been kept for someone who could actually stay in their home. For the number of communities they “service” (since we now know that Evanston is just the repository of other suburbs undesirables), Connections is awfully sloppy. The money Devon Reid received should have gone keep another person housed, not to cover a partial payment for someone who will never be able to pay his share and who is still on the eviction list. What a misuse of funds and an indication of their sloppiness.

  31. Connections for Homeless and Council more than happy to let Evanston become a shanty town—- but why?—-I understand Connections, their shameless greedy methods in preying on less fortunate is very transparent—-there’s big money to be made here and business is booming…But why would anyone with the city support a plan that’s bound to create a seriously dangerous environment for Evanston residents?—-Will those supporting the Margarita plan be willing to accept responsibility when things go really bad?—-highly doubtful

    1. Agreed… this has been the major source of reliable reporting about the Margarita issue… and also a valuable citizen’s forum…

  32. Why is it so easy for the city council to approve a never-ending stream of homeless shelters, transitional housing, and affordable housing projects, while they let market-rate residential development projects languish for years? One reason we don’t have enough affordable rental housing here is that people who want to live in Evanston have limited rental housing stock to choose from. People who want to live in buildings like The Albion (100% rented) instead lease 100-year-old apartment buildings that go for 30% less. That leaves lower-income people with no options. That’s what’s happening in southeast Evanston right now. Rents are going up by a third and those buildings will still fill up. City council, stop looking for ways to prove what good, kind, virtuous people are and spend some time figuring out how to make Evanston economically viable.

    1. That’s the truth! As one of those lower-income people with no options, I… have no options. I have been struggling to figure out how to live on my own here. I would move us outta here but my son’s in the school system and I’m unwilling to pull him away from people he’s known since preschool.

  33. I wish the proponents to the Margarita Inn homeless shelter would see the comments here and see how much hurt Connections for the Homeless is causing to the community. The complete blindness to the reality of the situation is irresponsible. A homeless shelter always looks good on paper becuase we are all led to belive they help people in need, but the ramifications to the community are enormous and shouldn’t be ignored.

    I remember hearing of and seeing Connections for the Homeless many years ago when I moved to Evanston and thought….wow, what a great organization! I even donated clothes and other items in the past. But after I saw the way they’ve been handling the Margarita Inn issue I have lost all respect for them. I would never donate to them again and always advise others not to. What they’re doing is bullying the neighborhood into submission by imposing their selfish agenda (more homeless people they house = more grant money). They are exactly like the people who run Albany Care, except they feel good about themselves due to their ‘nonprofit’ designation. The whole situation is beyond shady, and this article represents a drop in the bucket of the issues we see and hear about. City of Evanston needs to drop everything and start treating this as a priority. Organizations like this should NOT dictate how communities should live!

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