Articles

What We Want to See Happen to Solve the Affordable Housing Crisis

Housing is a human right. We envision diverse, inclusive communities with sustainable housing for all. Joining Forces for Affordable Housing has developed this definition of what we are advocating for to address the affordable housing crisis. This definition will change over time as programs take hold in our communities related to reparations, climate...

Advocating for Affordability and Equity in North Shore Zoning

Joining Forces has reviewed the portions of the Evanston City Code related to housing in light of affordability and equity. We believe that both Evanston and the surrounding communities should expand this effort and overhaul their municipal codes to accomplish the following: Eliminate elements in the Code that make it more difficult and more expensive to c...

Impact of COVID-19 on Housing Needs & Advocacy Response

The COVID-19 pandemic is highlighting and exacerbating so many of the problems our community faces. Housing is no exception: Connections for the Homeless is currently providing hotel rooms, food, clothing, and other basic necessities to about 200 people who have nowhere else to shelter in place. The number of calls we are receiving from people who need he...

Current Responses to COVID-19 from Housing-Related Agencies

Joining Forces for Affordable Housing held its first meeting since COVID-19 struck Illinois on April 6, 2020. One of the things we talked about was how local housing & homeless agencies are responding. Connections for the Homeless As of April 13, Connections is hosting approximately 200 people in hotels in Evanston. These people all have nowhere ...

Call to Action in Evanston: Choose Affordable Housing!

Evanston's City Council meeting on Tuesday, January 22, was focused on affordable housing. Here is the packet for the meeting , and here is a video of the meeting . During public comment, 13 members of Joining Forces spoke, asking the City Council to "Choose Affordable Housing" in 13 different ways. And one of our members added both beauty and me...

Community Discussions of Undesign the Redline

In October of 2019, Joining Forces for Affordable Housing held several community meetings at the Civic Center to review and discuss the Undesign the Redline exhibit that was on display. Our focus was on considering the exhibit's suggestions for future action that would help to dismantle the restrictive limits that redlining imposed on Black communities and...

Seeking Crazed Costume Designers/Architects

For the 2019 July 4 parade in Evanston, Joining Forces members made wearable houses out of cardboard boxes and marched down the street as a somewhat fluid neighborhood. While marching in formation was not our strong suit, our members were incredibly creative in designing their houses, and in spite of the heat, we had a great showing and lots of e...

Recap of Housing Action Illinois Conference

I attended Housing Action Illinois' annual conference, called "Housing Matters" on October 24 and 25. It was excellent, and I recommend everyone interested in housing issues in Illinois watch for this next year and head to Bloomington in October. Here's a link to descriptions of the sessions from the conference, that includes links to the Pow...

Share Your Experience

NEW DATES: Cook County Needs Your Input to Improve Fair & Affordable Housing Options in Our Community Why Attend? Attend one of these meetings to learn about opportunities for free winter workshops (with compensation provided) for people who want to become advocates for fair and affordable housing. A $25 gift card will be raffled off at ea...

Affordable Housing Feedback from Evanston's Wards

During the summer, Joining Forces and Reclaim Evanston partnered to hold one meeting in each of Evanston's nine wards, asking residents for their input on the need for affordable housing. This article summarizes the feedback we received from community members on what types of solutions they would like to see. Interestingly, we did not see great differen...

Progress Toward Affordable Coach Houses & ADUs?

Coach houses and ADUs (accessory dwelling units) are a hot topic in Evanston, since many backyards have room for them and they may have the potential to be a new source of affordable housing. However, turning this cool idea into reality is going to take some work. Here's what's going on. Seeking to Do a Pilot The Evanston Development Cooperative (E...

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...

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...