The Evanston Housing & Community Development Committee on Tuesday unanimously renewed Libertyville-based Community Partners for Affordable Housing (CPAH) contract to administer the city’s inclusionary housing waitlist. 

CPAH will be paid $50,000 to administer the list in calendar year 2023, a figure that is up from about  $43,000 this year.

File photo: Seventh Ward City Council Member Eleanor Revelle at the online meeting to discuss Northwestern University’s plans for a new stadium. Credit: Bob Seidenberg

Some residents at the virtual meeting questioned why the city is advancing the money to an organization to administer a list rather than providing it more directly to local landlords committed to providing affordable housing to their clients. 

“There are not many units, and not many units come online each year,” noted landlord Tina Payton. She lamented that the city was providing “more money for agencies and no money for providers.”

City Council Member Clare Kelly, 1st Ward, who is active in housing issues, similarly questioned why it was difficult to advance assistance to compliant landlords who make the necessary commitments to affordability.

“I really want to understand what the qualifying factors are,” Kelly said. 

Amy Rosenfeld Kaufman, CPAH’s director of development and community relations, said her organization would be administering 94 units across the city next year, many in larger buildings that have committed to affordable units.

The increase in funding for CPAH was attributable to an increased number of units, an increased number of individuals on the waiting list and a number of additional compliance standards, said Housing and Economic Development Analyst Ana Elizarraga. CPAH also conducts income certifications, re-certifications of households and compliance reviews for affordable units.

After the passage of the measure, Committee Chair Eleanor Revelle, 7th Ward, said that CPAH is “a really good program” that is also “reassuring to developers that tenants are being found for their properties.”

The committee also unanimously recommended approval for a Small/Medium Landlord Assistance Program, which would be funded with $500,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funds, for landlords adversely affected by the pandemic and the subsequent financial downturn. Landlords owning up to 25 units would be eligible. That measure heads to Evanston City Council, where it will be discussed at the Dec. 12 meeting.

The committee also voted unanimously to approve a contract for an amount not to exceed $66,735 between the city and Metropolitan Tenants Organization and Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing for landlord-tenant services. 

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