Evanston is in an affordable housing crisis. Thousands of our neighbors are spending over 50 percent of their income on housing. Nurses. Teachers. Firefighters. People with disabilities. Senior citizens. People who must choose between necessities like food or medicine and keeping a roof over their head.
To create more affordable homes in the near term, funds generated from Taste of Evanston will enable Reba Place Development Corp. to create additional safe and decent affordable units. To assure the city’s long-term growth of affordable housing, Connections for the Homeless will use its grant to lead Joining Forces for Affordable Housing, a multi-faceted advocacy campaign to inspire Evanston city leaders to develop a sustainable affordable housing plan, and encourage residents to embrace it. Their goal is to replace NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) with YIMBY (Yes In My Back Yard).
Connections for the Homeless and Reba Place Development Corp. are well known for their effectiveness in fighting housing insecurity. For more than 25 years, Reba Place Development Corp. has been leveraging grants to create affordable housing units in Evanston. RPDC currently has 49 units under management with rents as low as $775 per month for a two-bedroom apartment. For their part, Connections for the Homeless has offered a broad range of services for people confronting homelessness since 1984. In 2018 alone, they served more than 1,400 people by preventing families from losing their homes, helping people obtain stable housing, and providing shelter, counseling, hygiene, and medical services to people who are homeless. Joining Forces for Affordable Housing, their advocacy arm, has already initiated the important work of studying the extent of Evanston’s housing crisis, revealing that we have a shortage of more than 3,500 affordable homes. They are also conducting “Affordable Housing 101” seminars around the community to explain the causes of the housing crisis and address concerns. And, they are providing input to the Evanston City Council as they develop a comprehensive plan for expanding affordable housing in our community.
Taste of Evanston has become the North Shore’s premier food festival, featuring over 40 of the city’s most celebrated restaurants, breweries, and wine shops on the great lawn of the historic Charles Gates Dawes House, residence of the 30th Vice President of the United States, and now home of the Evanston History Center. While sampling food and drink, guests enjoy a view of the lakefront, live music, a silent auction, tours of the Dawes mansion, and the knowledge that they are helping to solve one of Evanston’s most pressing issues. For tickets and additional information, please visit tasteofevanston.org.