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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 the Committee or City staff are either taking too much control or failing in their roles. We believe, rather, that it has quite a bit to do with resources.

The process for creating a plan is not mysterious, and the Committee has plenty of data at its fingertips. What they don't have is a clear sense of who should do what. There are really three options, none of which is currently properly resourced:

1.  The City staff clearly have the skills, and access to tools and resources to supplement those skills, needed to create a full-fledged affordable housing plan. However, if they had both the time and the encouragement to do so, they would have created such a plan already. In fact, in their White Paper from October 2017, they wrote about many of the recommendations that should be included in a plan. However, without buy-in from City management and they probably do not have the time. Nor do we expect they would be encouraged to submit a plan to the City Council that goes much beyond the resources they already have at hand (through CDBG, HOME, and Affordable Housing Fund sources). 

1. The Committee has the skills and knowledge to create a plan. However, we do not get the sense that any of Committee members has committed to taking the time to