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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.

Status of a Planning Process
At the Council meeting on April 30, City staff were asked to compile a needs assessment by the end of this month, which Council members will use to determine whether to ask the Housing & Homelessness Commission (HHC) to work on something and whether that something should be a full-blown affordable housing plan.

At the same time, the HHC has decided to work with staff to an assessment of need that they will use as a training vehicle for the four new commissioners that will be coming on board this spring. This project will prepare the HHC for any further planning that needs to be done. To do this work, the HHC is planning to meet biweekly for the forseeable future.

Advocacy Strategies
We hope to keep this momentum going, and to accelerate it, by doing the following:

  1. This process will need the support of staff. We are going to meet with the Mayor and the City Manager to ask that they figure out a way for staff to head up the planning process, even if they don't have the capacity to conduct all of the steps themselves. We will be advocating for the HHC to take on much of the burden, using staff for guidance and review.
  2. The HHC will need the support of housing experts in the community if they are ultimately to create a plan that addresses the full scope of needs in the community. We plan to have Joining Forces members attend all working meetings of the Commission and to participate as ad hoc committee members where possible. 
  3. Aldermen need to start seeing affordable housing planning as an ongoing process that is integrated into all of the other issues that the City is grappling with. We will be scheduling time with aldermen to share a vision of Evanston that includes ongoing attention to affordability and measurable progress over the short and long terms.

How You Can Participate
  • Come to Housing & Homelessness Commission meetings. You can watch their schedule here.
  • Talk to your aldermen about how important an affordable housing plan is.
  • Come to Joining Forces meetings to help strategize.
  • Contact Sue at sloellbach@connect2home.org if you'd like to participate in a Joining Forces meeting with your alderman.