See our Fact Sheet on 51 New Units of Affordable Housing: The Emerson, at 1900 Sherman.
Overview of Development
What We Like about This Building
Objections We’ve Heard...
The building is too tall, too large, not appropriate for this setting.
Our Response: We are concerned primarily with affordability. We support this development because of its ability to increase the number of affordable units in the community. We feel that affordability must be the top priority. Adding significant amounts of affordability will necessitate change, and adding affordability is a change for the better.
Most of the apartments will not be affordable for the people who are really suffering from the lack of affordable housing.
Our Response: HACC realizes that extremely low-income people (who earn less than 30% of the AMI) can’t afford even the least expensive units in the Emerson without help. Therefore, it is intending to allocate 34 Project-Based Vouchers (similar to Section 8) that will ensure residents don’t need to pay any more than 30% of their income (pending legal review with HUD). That means that the rent for a household with an income of $20,000 a year, for instance, would be $500 a month ($20,000/12 months x 30%).
This building doesn’t have enough affordable units.
Our Response: A building that is funded through competitive grants from the government could potentially include more affordable units, because the amount of money needed to repay loans and cover ongoing operating costs would be lower. This building is using a new mixed-income model that does not rely on government funding at all and, instead, uses the money from higher market-rate rents to make up for the reduced rent they will receive from the affordable units. HACC has calculated a ratio of affordable to market rate apartments that covers their costs and will allow them to repay their debt over a period of 10 years. If they have “profit” from the market rate units after that point, this money would go toward development of additional affordable units. We believe that the proposal adds a significant number of units to the current stock of affordable housing and has potential to add more in the future.
Evanston doesn’t need more senior housing. Why is it just for seniors?
Our Response: Evanston does need more housing for seniors—specifically for low-income seniors, according to the Sawgrass Partners market assessment of senior needs in Evanston. The City Council packet in which the Sawgrass study was presented states: “The Sawgrass study confirmed the unmet need for more affordable independent living units at multiple income levels, including for seniors at 80%-120% of the area median.” The report itself indicates that:
While the need for affordable units of all types is high, we do not feel that focusing on just one of those needs is a problem.