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Schakowsky backs more federal funds for housing here

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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.

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City seeks grant for low income housing

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