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At its March 6 meeting, the City’s Human Services Committee received an update on the City’s tenant-based rental assistance program (TBRA), offered through Connections for the Homeless to 20-30 households with children, that either live in Evanston or whose head of household either works here or has a bona-fide job offer here. In addition to the rental subsidy so the family will have stable housing, the heads of the household receive educational and employment supports to develop self-sufficiency – that is, according to the City, “to earn a living wage and maintain market-rate rental housing.”
The City allocated $500,000 of its federal HOME funds to Connections to administer the program for 36 months, beginning in July 2103. The program is operating at capacity, according to a memo from Mark Muenzer, director of Community Development; Sarah Flax, housing and grants administrator, and Mary Ellen Poole, Housing Planner, for the City.
Sixty-six household were evaluated for the program, and 20 households enrolled, all of which complied with the case management plans.
Of the 20 households in the program, four live in the Second Ward, one in the Third Ward, ten in the Fifth Ward, one in the Sixth Ward, two in the Eighth Ward and two in the Ninth Ward. Children in the program attend school at Orrington, Lincoln, Kingsley, Chute, Oakton, Nichols, Dewey, Willard, Haven and Evanston Township High School.
In addition to the housing and case management support, all households receive Medicaid and food stamps; some receive childcare subsidies; and all children received annual checkups at Erie Family Health Center.
Twenty households were enrolled in the program by the end of last December. Two households will graduate from the program at the end of April. One household, in the program for two years, was able to increase its monthly income by $3,500 per month. The second household decided after a year in the program to pursue employment opportunities independently from Connections.
The initial $500,000 for housing is committed, based on the projected needs of the enrolled households, and the memo from Mr. Muenzer, Ms. Flax and Ms. Poole said they would develop a recommendation to continue the program using 2015 HOME funds. Connections will have to fund the administration of the program, case management and other services that are not covered by HOME funds, according to the memo.
None of the members of the committee commented on the report.