In January, Joining Forces for Affordable Housing made several calls to action. Here is an update on results. Many thanks to those of you who participated!
Cook County Shelter Sign-On Letter
On January 19, we asked advocates to sign on to a letter to Cook County officials and staff, asking them to support development of new fixed-site homeless shelters. This is an ongoing issue. So far, 135 organizations and 1,025 individuals have signed on. Click here to read the letter, see sign-ons so far, and add your name or organization.
SB 3066--State Legislative Package for Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention
On January 9, we asked supporters to file witness slips in favor of Senate Bill 3066. In less than 24 hours, partnering with Housing Action Illinois and other advocacy groups, we generated 1,031 witness slips in favor of the legislation, more than the opposition (841), and the bill was approved by the state House of Representatives. Unfortunately, the bill was not called for discussion or vote in the Senate. The bill's originator, Representative Delia Ramirez, released this statement.
Elections for Evanston's mayor and aldermen are coming up in April 2021. Joining Forces has asked organizers of candidate forums to include questions on affordable housing, if they hadn't already planned to do so.
What we are finding so far is that 1) forum organizers are asking the most general of the questions, and 2) candidates are giving the most general answers.
What we'd really like to know are much more specific ideas and opinions. However, these questions are both tough and controversial. Some of the candidates are moving towards them, and we are encouraged by that--but impatient for more momentum.
REAL Housing Questions for Evanston Candidates
We don't have all the answers. But we provide the data we have access to, share information about what other communities are doing around the country, give opportunities to explore housing alternatives, and facilitate discussion of different viewpoints.
See our Fact Sheet on 51 New Units of Affordable Housing: The Emerson, at 1900 Sherman.
November 18, 2020
According to the DePaul University Institute for Housing Studies, there is a shortage of more than 6,900 affordable units in Evanston and Skokie combined. (Click on the link at the bottom of this page to access this data in the Appendix to the study cited.)
Dear City of Evanston Aldermen and Mayor Hagerty:
Members of Joining Forces for Affordable Housing would like to reiterate our support of the The Emerson at 1900 Sherman, up for your vote on Monday, November 23.
Last, January, Joining Forces members spoke at a special City Council meeting, exhorting the City to "Choose Affordable Housing!" Shortly, after that, the pandemic set in, and momentum on most issues stopped. Now, however, there are inklings of action, and it is time for the City to respond by choosing affordable housing-usually over other easier or more popular options. Here is one great opportunity.
On October 14, the City's Plan Commission deliberated on whether to recommend approval of a new residential apartment building on Emerson and Sherman by the Housing Authority of Cook County.
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:
The COVID-19 pandemic is highlighting and exacerbating so many of the problems our community faces. Housing is no exception:
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.
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 meaning to the evening by singing. The core of each statement made is listed below.
Many thanks to all the Joining Forces members who spoke (or sang)! These statements will provide a good foundation for our advocacy in Evanston this year.