Evanston aldermen tonight will be asked to approve a plan to use more than a quarter-million dollars in federal grant funds to acquire and rehab two rental housing units in the western portion of the city’s 2nd Ward.

The area targeted for the affordable housing is highlighted in blue.

Evanston aldermen tonight will be asked to approve a plan to use more than a quarter-million dollars in federal grant funds to acquire and rehab two rental housing units in the western portion of the city’s 2nd Ward.

The proposal comes from Community Partners for Affordable Housing, a Highland Park group whose executive director, Rob Anthony, is an Evanston resident.

The project has been stalled since February, when aldermen on the Planning and Development Committee balked at approving the project without knowing where the units to be purchased would be located.

Focusing on the 2nd Ward, whose alderman, Peter Braithwaite, has indicated support for the proposal, may make it easier to win approval for it tonight.

The proposal also excludes properties in the two census tracts in the 5th and 8th wards that have been targeted for affordable housing developments under the city’s $18 million Neighborhood Stabilization Program federal grant.

Aldermen in those wards have voiced concerns about having too much of the city’s affordable housing concentrated there and not more widely distributed across the community.

The CPAP proposal would focus on larger apartments, suitable for families.

City officials in a memo outlining the proposal, say it’s important for the group to be able to move quickly under “first look” programs that under federal law require banks that have foreclosed on properties to give non-profits like CPAP 10 days to decide whether to agree to purchase a property before its made available to other purchasers.

Once it goes on the multiple listing service, the memo says, prices are driven up “by investors entering the scattered site rental market.”

The 10-day window, the memo says, doesn’t provide time for the City Council to review a proposal before the deadline for action passes.

The city currently has $640,000 in HOME funds that under federal rules it needs to commit to projects by the end of August.

The assistance to CPAP proposal is for a $277,685 forgivable loan.

Related stories

Two housing groups seek loans from Evanston

Planning and Development Committee (Feb. 25, 2013)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Don’t do it!

    We don't need more crime than we already have here. Keep low rent housing out.

  2. Seriously?

    How about helping people into ownership as supposed to working to drawing more residents from Chicago who may not necessarily have an interest in keeping the community safe, clean and positive.

    I do not have a problem with low income neighbors. I grew up in public housing in a time and place where teenagers had more respect for their parents, neighbors and their community.

    In my line of work I encounter many unsavory people (all races) from Chicago that are bragging about moving to Evanston. I wish I could tell you all what I do for a living, then you would have pause on this issue.

  3. Time for 1st Ward to join in?

    There must be some place in the 1st Ward where low-income rentals could be located?  With $640,000 available, we should have the funds to make it happen.  

    Let's start now with having low-income, subsidized rentals throughout the City. I assume that 1st Ward residents won't have any objection to our citywide commitment to economic diversity throughout the city. 

    No to this proposal but please inform our fellow resident to find a property or two in the 1st Ward and you will consider it. 

  4. Police, fire, and city workers

    How about offerring affordable rental houses first to police officers, firefighters, and city workers? Wouldn't that solve the problem people have with the type of people moving into the affordable houses. Police officers and firefighters named affordable housing as the #1 reason they do not live in Evanston. 

  5. Neighborhood Improvements

    This is probably the opposite of what affordable housing proponents want, but—

    Wall Street Journal 8/14/13 page one has an article about how investors are offering to make improvements in the properties in Oakland California. The hope is it will improve the appearance of homes that need repair and spark the neighborhood to further improve.  Of course as values improve owners with properties at or near foreclosure regain property value and may be able to sell at those prices or if not 'underwater' owners know their property is at/close/above mortage and feel less necessity to 'abandon' the property.

    Oakland is a high crime area between San Francisco [across the bay] and Berkeley [borders].  Berkeley is of course the home of the university.  Thus there is some comparison with Evanston but by scale Oakland is much worse.

    I don't know if investors were involved but in the late 1970s along North Ave. in Chicago [path of Ravenswood train] which had many empty lots and homes in bad shape, you started to see a few houses 'clean-up', paint, etc.—I suspected not so much that thieves would target them.  In a relatively short-time, more and more of this happened until the whole area changed—North-Clyborn where note the theaters, stores, etc.—-now a very nice area.

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