Foreclosure filings continue in Evanston, as across the nation. Figures from Realty Trac, a company that tracks foreclosures, show that in the first eight months of 2009 there were 200 foreclosures filed in Evanston’s 60201 and 60202 zip codes. There were also 124 auctions of foreclosed properties.

That information is tempered with the news that the City has received a three-year grant of $800,000 from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to address homelessness. The grant is from HUD’s Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program.

Evonda Thomas, director of Health and Human Services for the City, said HUD has not set a firm date for releasing the funds, but the City has already been in contact with several local agencies that will provide direct services to persons who are homeless: Connections, the McGaw YMCA, CEDA, Interfaith Housing, the Legal Assistance Foundation and LIFT Communities (formerly National Student Partnerships).

These agencies will provide data management and housing locations, as well as legal services and advice on credit management, financial literacy and credit repair to the clients.

Using funds allocated by the City, Connections will make payments for direct services to clients, such as for rent or utilities. Other services will be reimbursed by the City, which will monitor the program.

“HUD clearly outlines that an individual who receives HPRP funds should be in a position to be self-sufficient at the conclusion of the receipt of assistance,” said Ms. Thomas in a Sept. 2 memo to the members of the Human Services Committee. “HUD will allow up to 18 months of assistance but, given the cost of our community, we have limited the assistance to three-month increments; re-evaluation is required at the end of each session,” the memo continued.

Other parts of the monitoring process will include frequent case management and evaluations of a person’s ability to “be self-sustaining following assistance,” the memo said.

Alderman Delores Holmes, 5th Ward, asked about the screening process. Ms. Thomas, noting that Connections serves a wider community than just Evanston, said the screening process would be tailored to serve Evanston residents. It also would help prevent giving money to persons who essentially game the system by accepting money for housing, but stay only until they have run out of money, rather than trying to improve their situations.

Ald. Holmes said she hoped the screening process would not “disrupt the neighborhoods. … If we just move people from one area to another, we’re not really helping them get what they need,” she said.

Mary Gavin

Mary Gavin is the founder of the Evanston RoundTable. After 23 years as its publisher and manager, she helped transition the RoundTable to nonprofit status in 2021. She continues to write, edit, mentor...