U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Evanston defended government spending on housing programs this afternoon on a tour of the proposed site of a federally-funded low-income housing development in the city.

U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Evanston defended government spending on housing programs this afternoon on a tour of the proposed site of a federally-funded low-income housing development in the city.

Schakowsky said that although some people claim the government should cut back on such programs during a recession, such projects “are an investment” that will yield enormous results in creating jobs, spurring further development and stimulating the private sector.

Top: Rep. Schakowsky, flanked by Alderman Delores Holmes, 5th Ward, and and city planning chief Dennis Marino walk on the 1900 block of Jackson Avenue, just east of the project site. Above: A boarded house for sale on the block.

The city last week applied for a $2.5 million federal challenge planning grant that would fund infrastructure improvements in the area bounded by Foster and Emerson streets and Jackson and Dewey avenues. About 67 units of low-income housing would be built on parcels of land now mostly occupied by a vacant industrial site and a parking lot for an auto dealer.

Additional funding for the project is included as part of the city’s $18 million neighborhood stimulation program grant received early this year, which is also intended to rehabilitate about 100 foreclosed housing units in two city census tracts.

Other funding will come from low income housing tax credits, which dictates the high proportion of low-income units in the development .

Brinshore’s Peter Levavi describes the project to Schakowsky.

Peter Levavi of Brinshore Development LLC, the city’s partner in the development project, said that about 10 percent of the units would be available to people making 30 percent of the metro area’s median income, or about $15,000 a year.

Thirty percent would be available to people making up to 50 percent of the median. Fifty percent would be for people making up to 60 percent of median income and ten percent would have no income restrictions.

Levavi said the firm’s market study shows a very strong demand for housing in the area at those price levels.

The plan for the project also includes relocating Gilbert Park, which now has a wedge-shape design that city officials say encourages loitering at the back of the park.

The city’s planning director, Dennis Marino, said that six of the units would be sold and the rest would be used as rentals.

Related story

City seeks grant for low income housing

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. It’s rather ironic to see

    It’s rather ironic to see Rep. Schakowsky walking around a stricken neighborhood looking all concerned about collapsing real estate values, because Rep. Schakowsky voted last month in favor of cutting funding for food stamps in order to bail out government and teachers’ unions, as reported here and elsewhere.

    Perhaps showing up in an economically devastated neighborhood for a photo-op is Rep. Schakowsky’s way of atoning for taking money away from the poor, who don’t have lobbyists, and handing it to the unions, which constitute one of her largest classes of financial supporters.

  2. It’s rather hypocritical to

    It’s rather hypocritical to see Pollak and friends pretending to be concerned about food stamps.

    This is another phony issue from Pollak.

    Here is what happened:  Congress wanted to pass a bill   – a bill that would provide funding for teachers, firemen, nurses   – "union members", as Joel calls them.  Because of budget rules, they had to come up with the funding by cutting funding elsewhere.  They were forced to cut food stamps.

    If the Republicans really cared about food stamps, they could have provided the votes to override the budget rules (the Democrats didn’t have enough votes for this).

    Furthermore, the cuts in food stamps don’t go into effect until 2014.  So Jan knows that they’ll have to come up with some fix by then.  Yes, this is the Democrats playing budget games, promising cuts in the  future to pay for firemen and teachers now. 

    That’s how government works.  What does Joel propose?  Laying off  teachers and firemen ("union workers")?  Increasing taxes to pay for them?

    It seems strange that Joel  (who produced this cheesy  nine-eleveny video )  is against a bill that would provide for firemen who responded to 9-11.

    Unlike Schakowsky, who has a real job with real responsibilities, Joel has plenty of time  to go around putting up signs and knocking on doors, making baseless comments and accusations  (maybe he will soon be drawing cartoons?), and advocating contradictory positions.

  3. Who said anything about

    Who said anything about Pollak? I was talking about Rep. Schakowsky and her vote.

    Indeed, Rep. Schakowsky, like many others whose vote forced them to reveal their true loyalties, is expressing the hope that sufficient funding will be obtained to make up for the money scheduled to be taken from food stamps to reward union supporters.

    Well, Rep. Schakowsky and others who voted with her can hope with all their might. They can talk all they wish of good intentions. But none of that changes the legislation they voted for.

    The contortions some are willing to put themselves through in order to justify this vote are quite revealing.

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