About 40 people came to a July 19 meeting organized by Reclaim Evanston to discuss affordable housing. Speakers included Elliot Zashin, Lesley Williams, Sue Loellbach, 5th Ward Alderman Robin Rue Simmons, Adrian Willoughby, and Anne Townley. It was the audience engagement that made the evening memorable. Ms. Loellbach, Manager of Advocacy at Connections for the Homeless, said that in Evanston, 42% of residents pay more than 30% of their income towards housing. Above this 30% guideline established by HUD, people are considered “housing stressed.”
Reclaim Evanston considers three components of affordable housing: 1) financial – affordable means that people on limited incomes do not have to spend excessive amounts of their income on housing, i.e. 30% or less; 2) condition – affordable housing is well-maintained, either by landlords or within home-owners capacity to pay; and 3) location – affordable housing is not confined to locations in limited areas of town, and shopping and public transit are accessible.
Reclaim Evanston is a project of The People’s Lobby, a Chicagoland grass-roots organization committed to working for economic, social, and racial justice at both the local and state levels.