Hope for Affordable Housing in Wilmette

Hope for Affordable Housing in Wilmette

ACTION NEEDED: Come to the Village of Wilmette Board of Trustees meeting on April 10 at 7:30 to speak in favor of Cleland Place!

Summary of Commission Meetint--Recommendation to Approve
At the Village of Wilmette's Plan Commission meeting on March 7, the Commissioners voted 4 to 1 to approve development of a 16-unit affordable building on Wilmette Ave. named Cleland Place. We created this document to provide information about this development: Cleland Place Info Flyer.pdf

The meeting began at 7:00 and ran until 10:30, primarily because of the number of speakers during Public Comment.

Many people spoke against the development, While many of these speakers were exceptionally articulate, concerned for the wellbeing of the community, and impassioned, most of them presented very typical NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) arguments. Many even started their comments by stating that they support affordable housing--just not in this location. Arguments against the development ran the gamut from logistical concerns (traffic, parking) to the disagreeable characteristics of the people who would live in the building to concerns about concentrations of poor people. Some of the comments were disturbing in their assumptions about people with low incomes and uninformed about the impacts (both good and bad) of affordability.

However, we were happy to see that an equal number of speakers spoke in favor of the development. The main reasons that people were supporting the development are included in our Top 10 Reasons to Support Cleland Place.pdf. And we were heartened to hear the comments of the Commissioners, most of whom appreciated and commented on the following:
  • The great need for affordable housing in Wilmette and the opportunity that this development provides to take a step forward
  • The appropriateness of this development for the site and the purpose for which it is being proposed
  • The developer's (Housing Opportunity Development Corporation) tenacity in listening to and incorporating responses to public concerns into his proposal through multiple attempts to gain approval for this development
Cleland Place will be up for a final vote at the Village Board meeting on April 10.
Joining Forces along with Open Communities and Wilmette supporters will be communicating with Trustees and building visible community support for Cleland Place in the meantime.
If you would like to get involved, please send an email to,, or by the end of March.