Subscribe!

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 green boxes in the chart below show strategies that have been implemented, and the yellow boxes show show strategies that are now moving forward (albeit, after a delay).

The Worrisome News
Several issues have been assigned to the Planning & Development (P&D) Committee (in orange below). This is worrisome only because P&D has given no indication of when they will address these issues. We are concerned that these items will be held in P&D without action indefinitely as a way of taking them off the table because they may be controversial or unpopular with some of the aldermen.

The Need for an Affordable Housing Plan
The strategies that staff presented in their White Paper are solid and provide most of the elements for an Affordable Housing Plan. However, these ideas by themselves do not constitute a plan. The following elements are lacking:
  • An evaluation of the impact each strategy could have on affordability compared to the need
  • The cost/benefit of implementing any one strategy 
  • The priority, critical paths, and sequencing involved in implementing multiple strategies
Without these elements, efforts to move forward are at risk of stalling.

We do not want to see the excellent White Paper that the staff prepared be put on the shelf with the old Affordable Housing Plan or Plan to End Homelessness.

ACTION ITEM: We advocate for the City Council to assign development of an Affordable Housing Plan, with affordability  goals and an implementation plan, to the Housing & Homelessness Commission ASAP.

Please note: We have not verified the following statuses with City staff--and we expect that they are making progress well beyond what is listed here. "N/A" in the chart below means only that we have not heard of any public discussion related to progress for an item.

Recommendation from White PaperStatus
NEW HOUSING OPPORTUNITIES
Allow use of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) by non-family membersIn P&D
Allow development of new ADUs for non-family membersN/A
Allow use of small lots for housingIn P&D
Lift the 3-unrelated limitation on occupancyIn P&D
INCREASE AFFORDABLE UNITS IN MARKET-RATE DEVELOPMENTS
Revise the Inclusionary Housing Ordinance (IHO)In process via the IHO Sub-Committee
EXPAND REVENUES FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING
Revise the IHOIn process via the IHO Sub-Committee
Impose Impact Fees on developments not covered by the IHOPut on hold by P&D
New use of City resources (land)Discussed on several occasions but not assigned for action
PATHS TO HOME OWNERSHIP
Bank programs, employer-assisted programs, use of the Affordable Housing Fund, land trusts, financial literacy programsN/A
Intergovernmental agreement with the Geometry in Design ProgramDone
EXPAND DEVELOPMENT OF INCOME-RESTRICTED RENTAL (FOR MODERATE INCOME HOUSEHOLDS)
Increase HOME & Affordable Housing fundsN/A
MAINTAIN & EXPAND RENT SUBSIDIES (FOR LOW INCOME HOUSEHOLDS)
Continue/add housing programs through HACC (Housing Authority of Cook County) and other public sourcesN/A
Continue/increase General AssistanceN/A
LEVERAGE EXTERNAL RESOURCES
Gap funding for PSH (Permanent Supportive Housing) and Supportive Living FacilitiesN/A
Look at using tax credit programs to create new housingN/A
Using the State Referral Network to access housingN/A
PRESERVE EXISTING AFFORDABLE HOUSING
Handyman Program, CDBG Housing Rehab, funding for rehab & repairs, new rehab program for owner-occupied 2 flats & small rental buildingsN/A
EXPAND PROGRAMS TO OVERCOME BARRIERS TO RENTAL FOR LOW-INCOME HOUSEHOLDS
Risk Mitigation FundN/A
Landlord Rehabilitation Assistance Program Done (will go live as soon as approved by Legal)
Tenant education, maintenance of supportive servicesN/A