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June 24, 2019

5/18/2019 3:09:00 PM
Evanston Wins $250,000 Grant to Support Affordable, Climate Resilient Housing
Submitted by the City of Evanston

Partners for Places, a project of the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities, today announced $250,000 in grant funding to support a City-led project to remove barriers to climate-resilient affordable housing in Evanston.

The City of Evanston will partner with the Center for Neighborhood Technology and Elevate Energy on the two-year project supported by the grant, which includes $125,000 in funding from Partners for Places with matching support from The Chicago Community Trust and the Evanston Community Foundation. Reba Place Development Corporation will also support the City's project in an advisory role.

Working with its community partners, the City aims to develop a program to remove barriers, such as financing and restrictive building and zoning codes, to help transition existing affordable housing to climate-resilient, energy-efficient standards. The program will focus on housing available to those with a median household income at or below 120 percent of area median income (AMI), particularly households below 80 percent of AMI.

“Evanston continues to be a leader among local governments nationwide in addressing some of the most pressing issues facing cities today,” said Mayor Stephen Hagerty. “Not only will the City's program remove barriers to affordable, climate-resilient housing in Evanston, it will help other local governments improve and expand affordable housing options in their communities. Thank you to Partners for Places, The Chicago Community Trust, Evanston Community Foundation and our community partners for supporting this important initiative.”

The City will create an advisory committee made up of local residents, developers, contractors and architects with relevant expertise to guide project implementation. As part of the Partners for Places grant program, up to three communities will also be invited to observe the City's project, provide feedback, and learn how to launch similar programs.

The City's project is the first step in a comprehensive effort to transition all Evanston affordable housing units to a climate resilience and net-zero emissions standard. Evanston’s Climate Action and Resilience Plan (CARP), adopted by the City Council in 2018, calls for attaining 100 percent renewable electricity for all Evanston households by 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, among other goals. 

Evanston joins four other communities in receiving 2019 Partners for Places grant awards. Other recipients include Cleveland, Milwaukee, Newark and San Diego. 

For more information, please call/text 847-448-4311. For convenience, residents may simply dial 311 in Evanston.

About Partners for Places
Partners for Places, a joint effort by the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities (TFN) and the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN), pairs local governments with philanthropy to support sustainability projects across the U.S. and Canada.

Partners for Places is a successful matching grant program that creates opportunities for cities and counties to improve communities by building partnerships between local government sustainability offices and place-based foundations. National funders invest in local projects to promote a healthy environment, a strong economy, and well-being of all residents. Through these projects, Partners for Places fosters long-term relationships that make our urban areas more prosperous, livable, and vibrant. The grant program provides partnership investments between $25,000 and $75,000 for one year projects, or $50,000 and $150,000 for two year projects, with a 1:1 match required by one or more local foundations.

Partners for Places’ general grant program is supported by The JPB FoundationKendeda FundThe Kresge FoundationNew York Community Trust, the Pisces FoundationThe Summit Foundation, and Surdna Foundation.

To date, Partners for Places has awarded nearly $7 million across North America in this successful matching grant program, leading to nearly $14 million in investments.

Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, May 18, 2019
Comment by: Jean SmilingCoyote

What exactly does "climate-resilient housing" mean? Is it only about energy efficiency? Does it also include resistance to damaging weather? Like hail, lightning, strong straight-line winds - and tornadoes? FEMA 320, first published in 1999, puts all of Illinois - including Evanston - into a "high risk zone for extreme winds", and because of this urges a "safe room" for protection from tornadoes and extreme straight-line winds. But there's no legal teeth in this guidance, so it's not required in any building code I know of. Case in point: the architect who designed an otherwise excellent net-zero house in Evanston IS aware (he told me so in person) of FEMA 320 and its guidance, but decided to NOT include a "safe room" in this house. I made the owner aware of FEMA 320 when I toured this house. Unless building codes put legal backing behind the guidance in FEMA 320, "climate-resilient" will continue to mean nothing more than feel-good energy efficiency in homes which will NOT protect occupants from extreme weather. People who qualify for "affordable housing" can least afford to lose their possessions to extreme weather, to say nothing of their lives.

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