The City of Evanston started accepting applications for its local reparations program Tuesday, and Deputy City Manager Kimberly Richardson says it received 17 applications in the first day.

The Restorative Housing Program that launched this week provides up to $25,000 for down payment assistance, home improvements or mortgage assistance on an owner-occupied property in Evanston to successful applicants.

To qualify, would-be participants need to be Black and either have themselves lived in Evanston between 1919 and 1969 and have been at least 18 years of age during a portion of that time or be someone who was born into the direct line of such a person’s descent.

Another path to qualifying would be to demonstrate that the applicant had personally been discriminated against in the area of housing by a city policy after 1969.

The program has an initial funding allocation of $400,000 — so it could potentially be exhausted fulfilling the applications of as few as 16 people, depending on the size of the individual grants.

The city has pledged to commit the first $10 million raised by its sales tax on cannabis to the overall reparations program, but so far the tax is not generating the estimated $1 million per year that had been forecast

The city’s Reparations Committee will review applications, determine eligibility and create a randomization process for identifying awards to be made if there are more approved applicants than available funds.

More information and application forms for the program are available online.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.