Articles

Sorting Out Local Affordable Housing Community Input Efforts

Discussions about affordable housing abound in our community, which is a great thing. Also great is the desire of groups working on the issue to get input from across the community. However, there are so many community outreach efforts going on, that it can be a bit confusing. I have listed the efforts that we know about below. As we are involved in some of ...

What Could Evanston Do about the Lack of Affordable Housing?

City of Evanston staff came up with a great list of ideas to address the affordable housing crisis in Evanston back in 2017 (see their White Paper ). We have added to it below, with just some of the ideas we have drawn from research. There are LOTS of solutions. But it all starts with planning--a list of solutions is not the answer. We need a plan that def...

Join Us in the July 4 Parade!

Please join us as we march in the Evanston July 4 parade . Here are the logistics and opportunities to participate— for you, your families, your friends . Kids love being in the parade! If you would like to join us, please sign up here (scroll down to July 4). For questions, contact sloellbach@connect2home.org . Before the P...

Using City-Owned Property for Affordable Housing

Recently, several parcels of land owned by the City of Evanston have been for sale. One was the old Recycling Center on Oakton, which is moving toward becoming a climbing wall facility. Another is the library parking lot, where a controversial proposal to build a large office building was being considered and was recently declined by the City Council. W...

Join the Fight to Increase Homelessness Prevention Funding

The State legislature has through May to finalize the State budget, and Joining Forces has been working with a state-wide coalition to increase the budget line item for the Homelessness Prevention program. A description of this important program and its benefits to the community is at the end of this article. We have already spoken with many of the legis...

Hopes & Dreams for an Affordable Housing Plan--and Process

As with so many groups that do not have clearly transactional responsibilities, such as reviewing and approving applications for funding, the City of Evanston's new Affordable Housing Plan Steering Committee seems to be having a hard time figuring out what its process, and the resulting deliverable, should be. We do not believe that this is because either th...

An Excellent Night for Affordable Housing

On Monday, February 4, the City Council held one of its special quarterly meetings on Affordable Housing. City staff gave its report on progress (see pages 4 - 7 in the Board packet ). As you can see, they have been working on many fronts. Most exciting is that their report included movement towards some new affordable housing developments--the most the...

2018 Progress, 2019 Goals for Joining Forces

Evanston and Wilmette have both made good progress this year related to affordable housing, and we are proud to believe that Joining Forces had at least some small part to play in these successes. Here is the top 10 list of accomplishments: In November, Evanston convened the first quarterly Affordable Housing Working Group meeting , gathering the ...

Quantifying the Need for Affordable Housing

In a prior posting , Joining Forces attempted to define housing affordability in terms of WHO needs it and WHAT types of solutions are available. At our November 2018 Member Meeting, we started to try to quantify the need, just in Evanston. The following is a summary of what we discussed--updated from some new information we found. We will begin to try t...

IHO Revisions Passed in Evanston

An inclusionary housing ordinance (IHO) requires a certain percentage of units in any new or substantially rehabbed residential building in a municipality to be affordable to people at moderate or low incomes. On Monday, October 29, Evanston's IHO Sub-Committee passed a revised ordinance that Joining Forces believes is a great improvement upon the one passe...

Proposed IHO Changes--What Joining Forces Thinks

The Inclusionary Housing Ordinance (IHO) Sub-Committee in Evanston has nearly finished its work and is going to be presenting its proposed changes to City Council for a vote in October. For the most part, Joining Forces members have felt that the proposed changes are excellent and will make the ordinance much more impactful. However, we do have a couple of c...

The Case for Density

Every quarter, the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development's (HUD's) Office of Policy Development & Research publishes a periodical called Evidence Matters . This spring's edition, called "Regulatory Barriers and Affordable Housing," is particularly enlightening, and I'm including a link to it here . I have abstracted some of the key point...

Progress on Affordable Housing Planning in Evanston

On July 30, the City of Evanston housing staff announced that they are embarking on an affordable housing planning process. The documentation they provided for the meeting is on pages 189 through 191 of the packet for the Board meeting . Some of the things we particularly like about this plan include the following: It will make use of the research that...

Defining the Affordable Housing Need

In the discussions that Joining Forces has been having among its members, one of the key issues is the definition of "affordable housing." This is important, because the answer is different for different people, and to address the overall need, we need to include solutions for all the subsets of need in our planning. "Affordable housing" is considered to be...

"Our Homes, Chicago" and Suburban Cook County

On June 28, the Chicago Housing Initiative (CHI) launched a campaign called Our Home, Chicago . Highlighting support from several Chicago aldermen, the campaign included a press release , press conference, social media blitz, and several articles in the Chicago Tribune . Even more impressive, CHI worked with aldermen to create and propose two ordinances, ...

Wilmette to Vote on Minimum Wage

The Village of Wilmette is voting on Tuesday, June 26, on whether to "opt in" to Cook County's ordinances to increase the minimum wage and improve sick leave benefits for employees. Read and sign on to our letter to the Board of Trustees here , and please attend the Board meeting (7:00 at the Wilmette Village Hall).

Progress Report on City of Evanston Affordable Housing Efforts

We went through the strategies that the City staff presented in their White Paper (see pages 16 - 22) at the first of the Evanston City Council's special meetings on affordable housing (October 30, 2017) and did a quick evaluation of status. The Good News The Council and staff are making progress where they can and are moving the ball forward. The gree...

Advocating for an Affordable Housing Plan

Why a Plan Is Needed The main questions that Evanston aldermen have had so far around development of an Affordable Housing Plan have been: Why do we need a plan? Who should create the plan? When should a planning process begin? Our arguments for why a plan is needed, who should create it, and when they should create it are documented here . ...

Why Evanston Needs an Affordable Housing Plan

On April 30, the Evanston City Council held its third quarterly meeting focused on affordable housing. The City's housing staff reported on the work they had done since the last meeting, and Council referred further investigation of several potential actions to the Planning & Development Committee. So, progress was made....until Alderman Revelle recomme...

Letter to Evanston Council in Prep for April 30 Meeting

Here is the letter that Joining Forces has sent to the Evanston City Council in preparation for their upcoming quarterly meeting on affordable housing, scheduled for April 30. There have been lots of behind-the-scenes conversations over the last quarter, many that Joining Forces has been involved in and, encouragingly, many that we have not been involved in!...