Reparations initiative on tonight's City Council agenda

Tune in at 5:30 p.m.

Community members can watch the City Council meeting online or on cable channel 16.


Last Friday, June 19, the Reparations Subcommittee met on Zoom and focused predominantly on reparations through home-buyer assistance and a revised draft of a Home Buyer Assistance Benefit Program, which was modified by members of the subcommittee. The program would help first-time home buyers with a down payment of up to $25,000. In order to qualify, a home buyer will have to be a Black resident who suffered discrimination by the City, or be a descendent of a Black resident who suffered discrimination by the City within the period of 1919 to 1969.


“Based on the community feedback process that we had last summer, we had dozens of recommendations for remedy policy, and one that was a priority was housing,” said Ald. Simmons, subcommittee chair. “So with that we’re moving forward prioritizing housing and business. But we’re starting with housing.”


“It’s important that we focus on that," she said. "We can retain our Black community, we can invite Black Evanstonians back home, we can welcome them home with initiatives that help them have ownership in our community, help them and their families build wealth, give us the voice that we should have here in this community.”


The proposed budget for the program is $250,000 (with a proposal to increase it to $400,000).


It would be open to first-time homebuyers buying property in Evanston as their primary residence.


Homebuyers would receive a no-interest forgivable loan funded from the City’s reparations fund.


Homebuyers could buy property anywhere in the city.


How would homebuyers prove past discrimination?

Nick Cummings, deputy city attorney, said that would still have to be worked out.


I'm linking the Evanston Roundtable's thorough report on the meeting so you can read all the details

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Please watch the City Council meeting tonight. If you'd like to keep up with the Evanston Reparations Initiative as it moves forward, check out the Evanston Reparations/Solutions Only Facebook group.


If you're a white Evanston resident and you'd like to get involved in learning more and helping others learn more and support reparations in Evanston, please email Dear Evanston at dearevanston@gmail.com.


Here's the full City Council agenda for tonight.

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