Nonprofit renovates affordable housing unit


Stephanie Kelly/The Daily Northwestern

Community Partners for Affordable Housing staff, contractors, residents and city officials gather Wednesday for an open house at 1409 Darrow Ave. CPAH recently completed renovation on the house so it could be rented to a low- to moderate-income family.

Stephanie Kelly, Assistant City Editor

A local nonprofit completed the rehabilitation of an affordable housing unit in the 2nd Ward and held an open house Wednesday to mark the occasion.

The house, at 1409 Darrow Ave., is the first in a series of 12 units in Evanston that will be renovated by Community Partners for Affordable Housing, an organization that develops houses to rent or sell to low- and moderate-income families. The organization plans to finish the majority of them by this spring, CPAH executive director Rob Anthony said.

“It really creates stability for those families to know that they have secure housing and safe housing,” Anthony said. “It’s an opportunity for people to rebuild their lives.”

In May 2013, City Council voted to set aside federal funds for CPAH to renovate two affordable housing units in the 2nd Ward. To purchase and remodel the units, aldermen put aside $277,685 in federal HOME funds for CPAH from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Anthony said. The Evanston Community Foundation also donated $10,000 toward the two units, he said.

Due to the money from both council and ECF, CPAH was able to acquire a $1.5 million grant through the Illinois attorney general’s office, Anthony said. He said they were able to leverage the money from local sources to get the grant.

“Without this local commitment, we wouldn’t be able to access larger grants,” Anthony said. “That’s why it’s so critical to have that local commitment.”

With the grant from the attorney general’s office, CPAH was able to increase its original plan from two housing units to twelve. Rehabilitation recently began at a second house at 1324 Hartrey Ave., which should be completed by the end of the year, Anthony said. CPAH will also acquire a five-unit building in the next week or so on Washington Street, as well as a spot at 1800 Greenleaf St., he said. 

There should be leftover funds to rehabilitate four additional units, he said.

Most of the units that will be renovated are located in the 2nd ward.

“(The renovations) help take properties around the ward that were distressed and boarded up in some situations and it provides affordable housing,” Ald. Peter Braithwaite (2nd) said.

CPAH has renovated about 60 total houses in Evanston, Highland Park and Lake Forest, Anthony said.

The Darrow Street home will most likely be rented to a family sometime in the next two months and will go for about $900 to $950 per month, Anthony said.

Renovation on the house started in June and finished in October, said Pete Eason, the general contractor for the house. Eason, a contractor with Priority Management Services, said it was a challenging project with work needing to be done on many parts of the house, including new plumbing, wall insulation and new dry wall.

Working with CPAH was a great experience, Eason said.

“They’re very good people to work for,” he said. “When (there were) challenges, they’re there to help out and to come together as far as completing the project from the beginning to the end.”

Anthony said the house will be wonderful for a local family.

“It’s a house that would have sat here wasting away for a long time, and we were able to turn it around into this beautiful home for someone that will rent it out for affordable prices,” Anthony said.

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