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Betty Bogg.

Evanston’s Housing and Homelessness Commission this week recommended the City Council renew funding for the tenant-based rental assistance program operated by Connections for the Homeless.

The $300,000 grant of federal HOME program funds would provide two years of rental assistance for 10 families with children in Evanston schools to help them avoid homelessness.

The program is designed to also help them break the cycle of poverty and instability by developing the parents’ capacity to earn a living wage and afford market-rate rental housing.

Connections Executive Director Betty Bogg said, “None of this money stays in Connections. It’s all passed-through to landlords and utlitity companies.”

A city staff memo on the program says that within the past 12 months 10 families have exited the program — all to a permanent home they were able to sustain.

In addition, 85 percent of the families participating in the program either started or maintained a job that pays a living wage and nearly half of the familes served increased their incomes.

Bogg said 31 families are now on the waiting list to enter the program and that the agency is trying to help some of those families to find more affordable housing. Participants in the program must be earning less than 80 percent of area median income.

Bogg also provided the commission members with a summary performance report that indicates the agency, which has an overall budget of $5.5 million, provided services to 625 Evanston residents last year.

Connections, which is based in Evanston, reports that overall it served more than 1,100 people in 38 Chicago-area communities last year.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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