Ald. Devon Reid (8th) will seek committee support Monday to spend $1.75 million more in city funds on programs for the homeless.
The measure is described as a response to homeless encampments springing up on Howard Street and in downtown Evanston.
But a memo from Connections for the Homeless, which would receive more than 70% of the proposed funding, indicates that it would mostly go to replace pandemic-era federal funding for aid to the homeless that is now running out.
Reid had several months of back rent paid for by Connections last year, before he ultimately was evicted for nonpayment of rent.
Connections had $14.5 million in expenses for its fiscal year that ended in June 2022, spending roughly $500,000 more than it took in from contributions and grants.
Connections grew dramatically during the pandemic. In its fiscal year ending in June 2019, the last full year before the pandemic, it spent just $4.8 million.
The bulk of the proposed new city funding to Connections would go to pay the organization’s staff.
Reid’s funding package also included $200,000 for Evanston/Skokie School District 65 to aid students whose families are facing homelessness and $300,000 for the city’s Health and Human Services Department.
Health Director Ike Ogbo says the funding to his department would enhance current programs and create “a flexible funding model to proactively address a broad spectrum of homelessness prevention necessities.”
Reid proposes funding the programs this year from the city’s general fund reserve.
The proposal does not address what funding might be required to continue providing the services in future years.
Nor does it set any targets for actually reducing the number of homeless people living on Evanston’s streets.
The Human Services Committee meeting at which the proposal will be discussed is scheduled for 5 p.m. Monday in the council chambers at the Civic Center.
If the committee votes in favor of the plan, it will then go to the full City Council for action, which potentially could come at the council’s Aug. 28 meeting.