Ashley Beauty Supply on Howard Street burned down in a fire in late July. Credit: Evanston Fire Department

Two recent events have forced Evanston residents out of their homes and displaced a business along Howard Street, Council Member Devon Reid, 8th Ward, said at a ward meeting Thursday night.

Last week, Cook County condemned a residential building housing six people in three different units at 819 Howard Street. Over the past two years, the tenants have faced severe maintenance problems and leaks, they said at Thursday’s meeting. But the move to condemn the building has also pushed them out of their homes without warning or a plan for a place to stay.

The city is currently helping to house the displaced residents in a hotel, they said, but they have encountered problems retrieving their belongings from the condemned building and gathering enough funds to find a new home. One of the tenants said he contacted local nonprofit Connections for the Homeless but the organization was not able to help.

“This situation is so, so, so terrible. It’s wrong. I have nowhere to go. I don’t have family, my mom passed away, so I’m all alone,” one of the displaced residents said. “And it’s just me and my roommate, and it’s just so, so hard.”

Ashley Beauty Supply at 751 Howard Street also burned down in a fire in late July, and owner Sylvia Kyobe is trying to fundraise enough money to rebuild the business. A GoFundMe is raising money to help Kyobe.

Local landlord Tina Paden, who was also in attendance at the ward meeting, encouraged the displaced residents and business owners to speak at future City Council meetings to advocate for more help from the city.

“That you all cannot support three families is a disgrace if you can’t do that,” Paden said.

Duncan Agnew

Duncan Agnew covers Evanston public schools, affordable housing, City Hall and more for the RoundTable. He also writes long-form investigations, features and the morning email newsletter three times a...

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