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The Citizens Lighthouse Community Land Trust of Evanston (CLCLT) plans to hold a series of open houses for its first affordable home starting on Feb. 9. The three-bedroom home, located at 2212 Washington St., will be sold to a family of five or six persons with an annual income no higher than $69,000. The sale price is $180,000. Evanston residents will be given a preference.

The non-profit CLCLT received a federal HOME grant through the City in the amount of $100,000 to assist with the project.

Rehab of the home

Wilfred Gadsen, executive director of CLCLT, said the home has been refurbished from the floor up to the roof. Outer walls have been replaced; the house has been fully insulated; the plumbing and electrical wiring have been replaced; the kitchen and bathroom have been replaced; the forced-air furnace has been upgraded and the airflow efficiency improved; there is a new water heater, and a new washer and dryer.

“We have taken steps to make sure it is the best possible construction,” Mr. Gadsen told the RoundTable. He added that the upgrades should help keep maintenance costs and utility bills down and help keep the home affordable.

Mr. Gadsen said that smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors have been hard wired and everything has been brought up to code. He hopes this will help keep insurance costs down.

“Anything that would produce an advantage to the homeowner we tried to do,” Mr. Gadsen said.

Before the closing, CLCLT will meet with the buyers and explain all costs of home ownership. “We want people to be informed about what they’re getting into,” Mr. Gadsen said. “We want to make sure people are not stretched and that they can enjoy the home.”

PDQ Construction was the general contractor for the rehab work, which was done almost entirely by local firms, including Jackson Painting Service, Wallace Carpet Service and Lane Hauling Service. Mr. Gadsen said CLCLT was given good prices for the work and the construction workers “got into the spirit of helping a family.”

The community land trust model

Under the community land trust model, CLCLT will retain title to the land and give the buyers a deed conveying title to the physical structures on the land. The land will be leased to the buyers for 99 years for a nominal rent of $25 a month.

When the new homeowners sell the home at a future date, they will be required to sell it to a qualified buyer at a price that is affordable to a family earning 80 percent or less of the area’s median income. They will also be allowed to keep the principal they paid toward the purchase price and about 25 percent of the appreciated value of the physical structures on the land. The balance of the sale price will go to CLCLT to use to further its goal of developing affordable housing. CLCLT will retain title to the land.

“Our goal is to keep homes in Evanston affordable for the next generation,” said Betty Ester, board chair of CLCLT. “We believe it is important that we continue to find ways to support Evanston’s rich tradition of economic and racial diversity. Evanston is a wonderful, vibrant place to live because of the people who teach our children, keep us safe and provide goods and services. Our mission is to help make it possible for these people to live in our community.”

“A lot of people have been involved in getting this house going,” said Mr. Gadsen. “It has been a cooperative effort of many people.”

Open houses are scheduled for Feb. 9 and the following seven Saturdays. A grand opening is scheduled for Feb. 24. Call 847-772-6702 for additional information.