Ald. Devon Reid (8th) will get to stay in his apartment on Callan Avenue thanks to a state homeless prevention grant program.

The Illinois Department of Human Services program is administered locally by Connections for the Homeless.

Reid’s landlord, Marty Max, of MLC Properties and Management in Rogers Park, posted signs in front of the building last month, saying Reid was more than $9,000 behind on his rent and faced eviction.

The grant to the council member, which covers up to six months of rent, was first reported earlier Thursday by the Evanston Roundtable.

Nia Tavoularis, development director for Connections, confirmed to Evanston Now that Reid had applied for help under the program, qualified for and received the assistance.

A conflict of interest provision in the city code creates the possibility that Reid might be expected to abstain from voting on the pending application of Connections for the Homeless for a special use permit to continue to operate a homeless shelter at the Margarita Inn.

But it’s not entirely clear from the provision’s wording whether receiving a government grant for which the recipient was otherwise qualified amounts to such a conflict.

Reid, who receives health insurance coverage and just under $16,000 a year for his part-time service as an alderperson, is also receiving full tuition payments as a full-time student at a community college and a cash stipend under a state program for persons who were formerly in the state’s foster care program.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation

29 Comments

    1. Ditto

      Are you kidding me ? Indeed!

      Utter insanity

      I do not want Alderperson Devon Reid making decisions for Evanston

    2. Free rent ✔️
      Free school ✔️
      Cash stipend ✔️

      Gotta hand it to the kid, he’s learned how to take as much as he can get. No wonder he’s such a fan of using other people’s money. It’s what he’s accustomed to.

  1. I think it is about 100% probability that he will vote on the Margarita Inn issue.

    Has there ever been a controversy that he has been involved in where he didn’t have some excuse? All of the driving infractions, the clandestine recording of council members, mishandling documents, etc…

    Just like how he argues with the city attorneys about legal issues without being a trained lawyer, he will claim the ethics provision doesn’t apply to him without bothering to consult a real attorney.

  2. Considering Reud now undeniably has a conflict of interest on any and all matters relating to CFTH, I should certainly hope the City Code forces his recusal from voting on any such matters. To other members of the City Council I say do your job and ensure Reid complies!

  3. Thought the homeless fund was for homeless people… not people who choose not to pay rent…he is/was not homeless..

    1. Hi Ginger,

      These specific funds that Reid is accessing via CFTH are for those that are already housed, but are in arrears for rent. This is called “Prevention”, per the CFTH site (below). Currently homeless people are not qualified for these monies, there are other funding streams available to get them placed in housing. During the pandemic when many lost their jobs, this Prevention program saved many from eviction. IMO Reid’s situation is “interesting”, as he is a young able – bodied single adult, not a true “hardship” case.

      https://www.connect2home.org/prevention.html

      “Our most effective solution to end homelessness is keeping people in their home in the first place.

      Job loss. Medical Emergencies. Divorce. When people experience a sudden change in finances, we ensure the entire household can stay in their home and avoid the costs and trauma of an eviction and homelessness.

      ​We provide financial assistance along with case management to help people get back on their feet…”

  4. Recusal from voting on Margarita issue?—-that sounds obvious…Should be asking if is this is even legal—-an elected city alderman accepting gifted money for lodging?—-sound like a serious violation of ethics—-city legal eagles need to look into this

  5. If Reid can’t/won’t pay rent but has a job with benefits & a college scholarship, maybe he should 1) get another job that pays more or.. b) get a second job or…c) get roommates or a cheaper apartment or… d) create a go-fund me account & hit up his fan base in Evanston. All of these options seem more ethical than taking money meant for homeless people.

    1. This is not Reid’s first time at the “eviction rodeo”, when he was recently making good money he was evicted. Even if this guy made a million bucks, I doubt he would still pay his rent in a timely fashion; he seems to live in a state of “extended adolescence”:

      https://evanstonnow.com/city-clerk-ordered-evicted-from-apartment/

      City clerk ordered evicted from apartment

      by Bill Smith/March 6, 2020

      “Cook County Circuit Court records show that Evanston City Clerk Devon Reid is being evicted from his apartment at 429 Custer Ave. for nonpayment of rent.

      Reid who makes $64,120 a year as clerk, according to the city’s website, was sued for nonpayment of $1,790 in rent by Hunter Properties, which manages the Custer Avenue building.

      Hunter’s attorney Michael Newman says the court ordered that Reid be out of the unit by end of day today.

      Reid, reached by phone this afternoon, said he “had to run to a meeting” and didn’t have time to comment on the situation…”

  6. I applaud Mr Reid for taking advantage of the service available to him to go to school and invest in himself while working a job, that’s exactly what he should be doing to get ahead in life. That being said he took a part time job in an expensive city. Why is it there is no expectation of him to work a job that makes ends meet while going to school part time? It is what is expected of everyone else. In fact , I went to school full time and worked part time and was able to make ends meet with no financial assistance from anyone except for the loans in my name that I had to pay back. He signed that lease agreement in bad faith. If he needed subsidized housing it was available. I hope he thinks about services he took away from actual homeless people though. Also, nice job CFH, look at you trying buy influence. They know how to work the system too.

    1. ” Also, nice job CFH, look at you trying buy influence. They know how to work the system too.”
      This is an unfair statement. Connections (Nia Tavoularis) came right out and said that Reid applied for help under the program, qualified for and received the assistance.
      Connections was very transparent about this transaction and it was clear that CM Reid would have voted to support the efforts of Connections to buy the Margarita Inn. Actually, Connections now loses a “yes” vote, so they had nothing to gain by helping CM Reid.
      I am no fan of much of what CM Reid brings to the council, but to accuse Connections of “buying influence” is not correct.

      1. Something is wrong with the program when an able bodied, single (I think) person in a good job market can qualify for the program. Either Connections is swimming in funding or their “programs” need a revamp. Doesn’t look good for them.

  7. What’s truly awful here is that Connections likely does not have an unlimited budget, so that $9000 that Reid got should have gone to someone far more deserving (maybe someone with an intellectual or physical disability). I hope Reid is happy in his warm apartment knowing that one of his fellow citizens is stuck out in the cold.

    He talks about equity all the time but he sure doesn’t practice it.

    C’mon 8th ward residents: put someone better in office in 2025.

  8. Well, as a former (as in absolutely no longer) donor to Connections, I hope this causes pause in other donors out there, realizing how Connections operates and the lack of ethics and morals in their allocation of funding/support, whether directly or indirectly.

    As far as Reid goes, all Evanston citizens should be concerned with his ineptitude, poor judgment, hidden agenda, and unethical mode of operation. His interests and efforts are NOT serving Evanston residents, they are only serving Devon Reid.

    This calls into question his past voting and positions regarding Connections’ efforts to operate a homeless shelter at Margarita Inn. Recall he proposed and then retracted the idea of having Connections operate a homeless shelter in the 8th Ward????

    I call for an ethics investigation.

    8th Ward residents PLEASE vote him out of office (that is if he doesn’t implode before the next election).

  9. In the thick of the city’s Margarita Inn/Connections for the Homeless discussions, Ald. Reid applies for and receives a grant administered by Connections.
    I don’t care whether the conflict of interest provision in the city code has a loophole as big as Fountain Square for Reid to bike through, elected officials have an ethical obligation to avoid any potential (or suggestion of) conflict of interest. Reid should be told to recuse himself.

  10. Curious – the grant covers up to 6 months’ rent, does this include covering costs for back rent? Also, if it is only 6 months, are we just prolonging the inevitable – his eviction? Devon Reid if you are reading this – get a job.

    1. Yes, this funding covers back rent. So even if he gets current on his rent, he’ll need to pay rent out of his own pocket going forward. Kind of a “one step forward, two steps backward” situation in his case… AFAIK he is not eligible for further monies with this particular rental assistance program.

  11. Devon Reid never ever fulfills his responsibilities, rings up debt, causes dysfunction in our city government, and is ALWAYS bailed out and defended. And he is always prepared with an excuse that makes him the victim (or his small cult of suckers can always be relied on to defend him with excuses). He knew the council salary when he ran. If he couldn’t afford to pay his rent – a basic responsibility – he should have found a part-time job or declined to run in the first place. He is not a victim here. He wasn’t the victim when he didn’t do basic parts of his job as clerk like recording minutes at city council meetings. He wasn’t the victim when he owed the IL election board $30K because he hadn’t paid his campaign fees to them for years (This should have made him ineligible to run for council, but the state board forgave most of that debt – surprise, he got bailed out again). He wasn’t the victim when he was arrested for driving on a suspended license. Look at the pattern, people. He’s not on the level and he isn’t a responsible person. But he fits very neatly in modern America – where no one in public office seems to ever be held accountable for anything at all.

    By the way, Connections granting him money when he is on council snd they are in the midst of deciding the fate of the Margarita Inn deal is uber shady.

  12. I very much hope that if the Mayor knew that the landlord was not being paid by Mr Reid, that he did not know that Reid was working with Connections to pay his bills. Applications take time. This did not happen overnight- and, if it did- that would be even more problematic. Reid voted on numerous committees at which Connections was requesting changes from the City. Connections is present in multiple City meetings; and they are working the whole Evanston zoning code and other pieces of legislation to their benefit. Evanston is the Connections business plan; and they are fully invested in every part of our government . Reid should not have been involved in any other meeting with Connections present, and, to my knowledge, there were multiple. Again, I hope the Mayor was not privy to this information until after the fact. I would expect him to keep the City above this level of corruption. It does not create a good impression for him or the City.

    1. “Evanston is the Connections business plan; and they are fully invested in every part of our government .”

      Can you tell me more about what this means? As far as I know, Connections doesn’t use money from the city. My understanding is that they have their own donors and take federal money for being a low-barrier shelter. Or do I have that wrong?

        1. Connections reputation keeps going down the drain, with the issues at the Margarita Inn, and now providing funds for someone who could provide for himself. Do the Evanston tax payors have a say in whether to continue to give money to an obvious broken program? There has got to be a more worthy organization than Connections. I am not alone when I say I will no longer donate to this organization.

  13. I’m sure the single mother of two with a sudden health emergency who finds herself unexpectedly housing insecure and unable to access this funding because it has been used up will be very understanding that Mr Reid had to get to class (that the taxpayers pay for) and City meetings where he seeks tax increases and spending initiatives, and therefore didn’t have time for another part time job so he could pay his own rent. When I was in college I had a full-time and a part-time job and always paid my rent (in addition to paying my own tuition), but I guess it’s not reasonable for me to expect the same from my local elected representative.

  14. Just have to say, Reid needs to reflect on his impact. Does he really want future generations that he represents to follow his life plan? I would hope not. Educate yourself, be proud, be kind, self sustain, pay your bills, and present your best self!! YOU, are not what the world is about!

  15. I will no longer support Connections for the Homeless given this disgraceful decision.
    Mr. Reid spends a lot of time stirring up controversy and very little time taking care of his personal responsibilities. He has the right to live that way, and we have the right to refuse to enable him.

Leave a comment
The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *