vacant by ward

Evanston’s problem with vacant properties — which aldermen hope to address soon with a strengthened ordinance — is intensely focused on a few neighborhoods.

Evanston’s problem with vacant properties — which aldermen hope to address soon with a strengthened ordinance — is intensely focused on a few neighborhoods.

City figures show that since January 2004, over half the vacant property cases — 35 of 66 — have involved buildings in the Fifth Ward.

Since the wards have roughly equal populations, that means that a Fifth Ward resident is 18 times more likely to live next to a vacant building than a resident of the Sixth Ward.

Evanston’s problem is not nearly as severe as the troubles besetting the Cleveland area, as detailed yesterday in a Chicago Tribune article, or Detroit, where a fly-over with Google Maps would reveal neighborhoods where most of the land has been turned into vacant lots.

The Tribune said mortgage foreclosures in Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland, are running at a rate more than twice as high as in Cook County. And Foreclosures.com listings show that the foreclosure rate per capita in Evanston is only one third the rate for Cook County as a whole. (Not all vacant properties are in foreclosure, but a large percentage are.)

But for Evanston’s hardest-hit areas, the problem is still very real.

Evanston Now plans more coverage of the vacant property problem in coming days, and we’d like your comments on the sources of the problem and what the most effective strategies would be to solve it. (Log in and click the “add new comment” link below to post your thoughts.)

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City eyes demolishing vacant properties – March 14

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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2 Comments

  1. Vacant houses in Evanston
    If it could ever get its mind off the Civic Center Follies, the City would see that it needs to grow a new set of teeth in property standards enforcement. Slumlords, absentee owners, and flippers have made life miserable in the low/moderate-income parts of town, degrading our housing stock and excluding working people in need of a home. When the Council and City staff get back to the hard work of governing, Evanstonians will have a better, safer, and more prosperous home life.

  2. affordable housing and ordinances will not correct the issue
    The vacant houses in the 5th ward are a issue the council clearly has not real idea how to deal. Pretending you are going to be increasing the laws is a big waste of our tax dollars. The better approach is to correct the issues in the neighborhood which clearly are not attracting home buyers.
    Why isn’t the council using our tax dollars to give home buyers regardless of income incentives to buy the trouble property in the 5th ward, regardless of income if they live in it? Thus encouraging new residents. I have also suggested they give the property to new police officier with a very large equity if they live in. To me pretending you are going to use enforcement to steal peoples property is a useless waste of our tax dollars- I suspect it takes thousand of dollars of staff time to deal with one of these property and get any results. Our city council members clearly do not understand that – or they would not have put a useless question on the ballot about the civic center!

    We really do not have a city wide vacant housing problems, what we have is an area with problems and the council with no plans to deal with it.

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