U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Office of Community Planning and Development

Consolidated Plan Contact


The City of Evanston is located twelve miles north of downtown Chicago and shares a common border with that city along Howard Street. Its land area is eight square miles located in Cook County in northeastern Illinois. Evanston is the first in a succession of eight communities fronting on Lake Michigan, stretching twenty-one miles, and collectively known as "the North Shore". The City is the home of Northwestern University (GO WILDCATS), Kendall College, Garrett Theological Seminary, and National Louis University. In addition, Evanston is the home of two major teaching hospitals and many corporations and service institutions.

Action Plan

The City of Evanston presents it FY 1995/96 Consolidated Plan, a strategic planning document for housing and community development. Included in the Consolidated Plan is a one-year Action Plan for spending approximately $3.25 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), HOME Investment Partnership Program, Emergency Shelter Grant (ESG) and program income funds for housing, homeless and economic development activities in FY 1995/96 (March 1, 1995 - February 29, 1996).

Citizen Participation

Citizens in Evanston, particularly low and moderate income households, are encouraged to participate in the Consolidated Plan process and comment on the City's Community Development activities. For this Plan, community needs were identified through a variety of sources and meetings. Housing needs, initially identified in Evanston's 1992-1997 Comprehensive Housing Affordability Strategy (CHAS) and recently adopted by the Evanston City Council, were updated through an ongoing citizen participation process with various City boards and commissions, in particular the Evanston Housing Commission. Other community development needs are identified through the CDBG budgetary process. A public hearing for the FY 1995/96 CDBG program was held in July 1994 before the City's Housing and Community Development Act Committee, which oversees Evanston's CDBG program, on community development needs. Homeless and human service needs have been identified through the interactive process of homeless/human service providers and clients with the City's Health and Human Services Department.

Two public hearings were held on the City's proposed Consolidated Plan for FY 1995/96: the first public hearing on December 13, 1994 before the Housing and Community Development Act Committee and the second public hearing was conducted by the Mayor at the January 9, 1995 City Council meeting. Copies of the draft Consolidated Plan were made available for public review and comment on December 9, 1994. Notification about the public hearings was published in two consecutive editions of the Evanston Review (December 1 and 8, 1994). Prior to adoption by the City Council, the proposed Consolidated Plan was reviewed by the Housing and Community Development Act Committee (four aldermen, four citizen members), the Evanston Plan Commission (citizen advisory board) and the Evanston Housing Commission (citizen advisory board).


According to the 1990 Census, Evanston's population (73,233) decreased minimally from 1980, a trend attributed more to the decline in average household size than to any other factor. Minority groups comprised just over 30 percent of the total population with African Americans being the largest minority group therein. Asian and Hispanic subpopulations, however, were the fastest growing minority groups, both increasing by roughly 50 percent in the ten years following the 1980 Census. Meanwhile, the number of elderly residents (aged 65 and over) declined during the same period.

The census reported the 1989 median family income (MFI) in Evanston to be $53,625 with a per capita income of $22,346. Nearly a third of the population is classified by HUD standards as low and moderate income (income below 95 percent of MFI). The geographic concentration of the low and moderate income population falls into an area that includes portions of the city's south side and much of its west side. The concentration of the minority population is likewise located in the south and west portions of Evanston.

Evanston has been experiencing significant retail growth in the past two years. While private sector initiated development and employment is very prominent in Evanston, the role of government, especially through the Community Development Block Grant Program is important in stimulating development in low and moderate income neighborhoods and addressing the needs of low and moderate income residents.



The 1990 Census reported a total of 29,164 housing units in the City of Evanston. There are 14,633 rental units and 14,531 non-rental units. This represents an almost even split between rental and non-rental units. The types of rental units vary by the neighborhood, with 2-bedroom and smaller units prevalent throughout the community. The non-rental units are predominately single family units, however a large number of condominiums do exist.

Over 85% of the year round housing units in Evanston were built before 1960. The relatively high percentage of units which are 30 plus years old indicates that property maintenance and rehabilitation activities are and will continue to be a high priority in Evanston. It is estimated that approximately 12.9% of the total rental units are considered substandard. Evanston has an aggressive Property Maintenance Division and the one year and five year outlook of the quality of housing remains at about the present level.

The vacancy rate in 1990 was 4.1%, indicating a fairly resilient housing market. The median value in 1990 for single family homes and condominiums was $184,000, which represented an increase of 108.9% from the 1980 figure. This rate of increase was typical of the northern Chicago suburbs during those ten years. While the trend towards higher housing values will continue, it is expected to be at a lower rate. Rental properties also saw an increase in rents, varying by the size of units. Evanston continues to experience numerous conversions of apartment buildings to condominiums.

Affordable Housing Needs

Households with incomes below 80% of median income face the greatest cost burden in Evanston. This segment of the population encompasses single individuals and families entering the housing market, as well as current renters and owners. With a tight rental market and rents increasing, renters continue to need affordable housing options and some may need rental assistance. Some rental property owners have seen their property deteriorate and rents not able to sustain increased maintenance. These owners will need some rehabilitation financing to maintain their property's condition and availability as affordable housing for renters. Current home owners, particularly elderly who purchased their homes years before, are finding that their income can no longer accommodate the high cost of home maintenance and repair. These owners will need rehabilitation assistance. As single-family home prices continue to rise, first-time homeowners with incomes up to 100% of median income will continue to need downpayment assistance and low-interest mortgages.

Homeless Needs

The number of homeless persons in Evanston, including non-residents, is often a supply created demand. This means that as long as Evanston has a high quality homeless shelter which accepts persons regardless of their community of origin, and a strong public transportation system, homeless people will be drawn to Evanston. Evanston utilized CDBG and McKinney Emergency Shelter Grant funding to support shelter programs coordinated by a private agency. This agency provides adult shelter, family shelter, transitional housing, and emergency housing. Additionally, a battered women's shelter and emergency assistance shelter are also located in Evanston. Evanston encourages a system of referrals that link the homeless to other needed social services by supporting case managers at two community organizations. This system of referrals is an important component of establishing a continuum of care. Evanston supports the efforts of local organizations focused on providing transitional and permanent housing for individuals, specifically those with mental illness and those with HIV/AIDS.

Public and Assisted Housing Needs

There are 245 public housing units operated by the Cook County Housing Authority in Evanston. These consist of 45 scattered sites and 200 units of elderly housing including one Section 202 building containing 100 units. No units are expected to be lost from the public housing inventory for any reason, including demolition or conversion to home ownership. There are 602 Section 8 certificates being used in Evanston; 460 family certificates and vouchers and the remaining 142 elderly certificates and vouchers. For Cook County, there are over 4,100 families on the Section 8 waiting list, which amounts to an approximately four year waiting period. Some units available to Section 8 certificate holders may be lost due to condominium conversions, however in the past few years conversion occurred in census tracts or block groups where 51 percent or more of the residents are low to moderate income residents.

Additionally, special needs populations have unmet needs. Adults with mental illness need skilled nursing, residential care, home and foster care. Home repair maintenance is needed by the elderly and frail elderly. Developmentally disabled individuals have a need for appropriate, affordable, supported housing options. In order to remain in the community, AIDS and HIV-infected individuals need affordable housing.

Barriers to Affordable Housing

As home prices and rents continue to rise, less households are able to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in Evanston. Therefore, Evanston has examined some of the barriers to providing affordable housing. The BOCA definition of Occupancy Limitation was discussed as a possible barrier to affordable housing. However, it was decided that the City would continue to use this definition. Due to the minimal number of vacant lots, new construction of large rental buildings for low and moderate income is not a viable option. Land costs are high, which make it costly to acquire and redevelop sites. Over the years, the property tax rate has increased faster than the cost of living in the Chicago metropolitan area. This tax increase may force owners to relocate or not permit potential owners to enter the Evanston housing market. Tax increases are also passed on to renters through increased rents.

Fair Housing

The City of Evanston has a Fair Housing Ordinance which prohibits discriminatory rental activity. Evanston has been aggressive in pursuing fair housing opportunities for all of its citizens and will continue its efforts at eliminating discriminatory rental practices. In addition, the City has been working with landlords to alleviate the unwillingness of some landlords to rent to Section 8 clients.

Lead-based Paint

Approximately 21,456 housing units, or 79% of the total housing units can be estimated to contain lead-based paint. Evanston's figures correlate to the age of the housing stock, with 93% of the housing units built prior to 1960, when lead-based paint was still used. Evanston maintains staff trained in lead-based paint inspections. The City also provides programs to screen young children for elevated levels of lead in the blood, including public education programs stressing prevention.

Community Development Needs

The City of Evanston seeks to address a variety of community development needs through its Community Development Block Grant, Emergency Shelter Grant and HOME Investment Partnerships programs. Currently, with HUD funding, the City supports programs to address the needs of homeless individuals and families, employment assistance for low/moderate income young adults, assistance for elderly citizens, housing rehab loan and minor repairs programs, assistance for Evanston minority/women businesses, legal assistance, battered women and children's programs, housing for mentally disabled persons, AIDS/HIV education, food assistance, and mentoring programs for youth. Rehab projects for Evanston agencies' facilities, recreation/park improvements, commercial facade improvements and infrastructure improvements in the CDBG Target Area are also identified in the Consolidated Plan.


The City of Evanston encourages participation in its community development planning process by all sectors of the community. Many housing, homeless prevention, economic development, other community development priorities and programs/projects are developed and carried out by City departments, while the City enters into contractual agreements with Evanston not-for-profit agencies for provision of services for low/moderate income residents. See the Citizen Participation section on page one for information about the citizen participation process for this Consolidated Plan. For additional information about partnerships for individual programs/projects, please see the section entitled Coordination of Housing and Community Development Strategy on page seven.


Housing and Community Development Objectives and Priorities

While special needs populations exist in Evanston, the City's housing and community development objectives focus on improving the housing and neighborhoods for Evanston's very low, low, and moderate income households. Housing objectives strive to increase the supply and improve the condition of housing affordable to very low, low, and moderate income households, both renters and owners. Community development objectives include improving the safety and livability of the neighborhoods, providing and maintaining public and recreation facilities and infrastructure, enhancing the physical quality and diversity of business services, supporting economic development opportunities and improving the physical appearance of the community.

Housing Priorities

Priorities for affordable housing - provide very low and low income single family homeowners an opportunity to rehabilitate their homes; provide very low and low income renters an opportunity to live in affordable, safe, decent, sanitary and economically diverse housing; provide owner occupied housing opportunities for first-time, low and moderate income homebuyers; assist low and moderate income families in preventing and eliminating blight and deterioration of property caused by lack of minor repairs and painting; provide very low and low income single individuals an opportunity to live in affordable, safe, decent, sanitary and economically diverse housing; develop stronger ties between City Departments and Commissions which deal with housing related activities; develop a plan to evaluate and reduce lead based paint hazards within the community.

Priorities for homelessness - provide very low and low income persons with emergency shelter and transitional housing; provide services and activities which will transition homeless individuals to permanent housing; provide services and activities which will prevent homelessness.

Priorities for special needs populations - provide services and activities which will provide housing options for persons with special needs; continue to study the need for housing for persons who have AIDS or who are HIV infected; provide rental assistance to elderly, small families, large families, homeless, developmentally disabled and persons with mental illness; work for a regional approach to housing related problems such as victims of domestic violence, homelessness and housing options for persons with mental illness and developmental disabilities.

Non-Housing Community Development Priorities

Priorities for public services activities - help meet day care needs for low/moderate income families; provide employment and training for Evanston's low/moderate income residents; provide basic needs (e.g., shelter, heat, clothing) of low/moderate income residents; create or develop neighborhood self-help programs such as increased block club formation; cooperate with neighborhood organizations in developing programs which will meet the needs of low/moderate income persons; provide services to residents with disabilities in order to integrate them into the community; develop or increase recreational programs for low/moderate income residents; provide assistance to Evanston's elderly residents, helping them obtain access to benefits and services to which they are entitled; provide utility assistance to low/moderate income residents who are unable to pay for their home heating and or electricity; ensure that persons and property are protected.

Priorities for other community development activities - improve conditions of Evanston's streets and alleys; make efficient use of existing parking resources while expanding the parking supply; resurface deteriorated City parking lots in the CDBG target area and provide lighting as needed; develop new parking lots in the CDBG target area as needed; improve operational efficiency of recreational facilities and other public buildings; rehabilitate outdated and inadequate public buildings, particularly to make them accessible to the physically disabled; repair and provide capital replacement at recreational buildings in the CDBG target area; provide and maintain park and recreation areas; improve safety of CDBG target area playgrounds to meet U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission standards; replace, develop or rehabilitate playground equipment, park shelters, tennis and basketball courts servicing the CDBG target area; sustain a high level of environmental quality for low and moderate income persons through landscaping, housing and commercial rehabilitation and community clean-up; strengthen the image of the community by emphasizing appearance and design in development and rehabilitation of public and private facilities which primarily serve low and moderate income persons; continue, in conjunction with the Chicago Transit Authority and Metra rail providers, the railroad embankment and station grounds improvement program.

Priorities for economic development activities - Encourage facade and renovation of commercial structures in the downtown and CDBG target area neighborhood business districts; attract and retain enterprises which strengthen Evanston's economic base; maintain and enhance the quality of the physical environment of the downtown and neighborhood business districts; make technical/financial assistance available to minority, women-owned and small businesses in Evanston; preserve existing employment and develop additional local job opportunities for low and moderate income persons; improve the streetscapes in CDBG target area commercial/retail areas; develop incentives such as land banking and provision of infrastructure improvements to stimulate private development; cooperate with the appropriate institutions in developing programs for employment.

Anti-Poverty Strategy

The City of Evanston operates and supports many social service programs and economic development projects to help very low and low income residents to better their quality of life. The City's own Families in Transition Program, for example, links rental assistance for families in need with access to a support system and social service network. The First-time Homebuyers Program and Emergency Assistance Program are other components of the City's anti-poverty endeavors. Furthermore, through its unified budgeting process, the City funds more than fifteen organizations that provide programs aimed at overcoming the difficulties associated with poverty and disability. Numerous economic development projects have created jobs for low and moderate income Evanston residents.

Housing and Community Development Resources

Currently, sixteen federal, two state, eight private resources, and four local programs provide services in Evanston. The primary federal programs are CDBG, Emergency Shelter Grants, HOME, Section 8, Public Housing, and Supportive Housing programs. Resources from the state are channeled through the Illinois Housing Development Authority and include funds available for housing development that benefits low income families. Private Resources include the Community Homebuyer's Program, Community Investment Corporation, and Habitat for Humanity. Local resources include the Evanston Housing Corporation First-time Homebuyers Program, the Families in Transition Program, and Emergency and General Assistance Programs.

Coordination of Strategic Plan

The majority of the programs and projects list in this Plan will be funded by the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. Administered by the City's Community Development Department, nineteen individual CDBG programs/projects will be carried out by the City's Community Development (Housing Rehab and Building divisions), Parks/Forestry & Recreation and Public Works departments. The City will enter into purchase of services agreements with Evanston agencies for eighteen other public services and facility improvement programs. Evanston also contracts with several Evanston human service providers for homeless assistance services funded by the Emergency Shelter Grants program. A public/private partnership will carry out programs funded by the HOME Investment Partnership program: a housing rehab loan program administered by the City's Housing Rehab division and a program for purchase and rehab of targeted buildings in south Evanston, to be carried out by private developers.


Description of Key Projects

The City of Evanston's One-Year Action Plan outlines the proposed uses for approximately $3.25 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), HOME Investment Partnership and Emergency Shelter Grant funds, including CDBG program income. These funds will be spent primarily on the following activities:


The programs and projects described in the One-Year Action Plan are located either in the CDBG target area or are offered citywide with income eligibility requirements (CDBG activities must benefit at least 51% low/moderate income persons). A focus on planning for the south Evanston community, started in 1994, will continue during FY1995/96. This is a combined effort composed of City Planning staff, other City departments, the Evanston Neighborhood Conference and four south Evanston neighborhood groups. Issues and needs of the south Evanston community are being identified and a strategic plan for meeting those needs will be developed. HOME funds will also be targeted for the south Evanston community in an effort to encourage property owners to rehab their multi-family buildings. A portion of HOME funds will also be used for the acquisition and rehabilitation of distressed multi-family buildings, located predominantly in south Evanston.

Housing Goals

Evanston's housing goals for the coming year include increasing the supply of affordable housing for 3,500 households through rehabilitation; providing rental assistance to 16 persons disabled with mental illness; making improvements to the 172 room single-room occupancy units at the McGaw YMCA; providing transitional housing for 1,068 homeless individuals and 181 homeless families as well as preventing homelessness for 774 at-risk households.


MAP 1 depicts a map of the entire community showing points of interest.

MAP 2 depicts a map of the entire community showing points of interest and an outline of low-mod areas.

MAP 3 depicts a map of the entire community showing the low-mod outline and area of minority concentration.

MAP 4 depicts a map of the entire community showing the low-mod outline and employment.

MAP 5 depicts a street level map showing projects with low-mod outlined and employment; in addition, a table provides information about the project(s).

MAP 6 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded project(s) from a street level vantage point.

For more information regarding Evanston, you may contact;
Sally Lufkin at 708-866-2928 and at fax number 708-328-5538.

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